Many planes arrived back from PNG with holes in wings and smoke coming from engines.

 

On one occasion a returning bomber taxied to the end of the runway stopping there with the engines running.

Those investigating found the entire crew had perished; a miracle that the pilot managed to land before he died. (As told by Roy Norton to Bill McKean Julatten – pers. comm.).

 

Rather than interfere with operations at Mareeba most planes unable to lower their wheels were diverted to Cairns runway where they were ditched in the mangrove mud and retrieved later.

 

One morning a fighter (plane) trailing smoke shirted Island Point at Port Douglas, then landed on Four Mile Beach.

 

When local teenagers found the cockpit full of smoke the young American pilot thought to be about sixteen yelled “Where am I? Where am I?”

 

The boys reckoned that he only had a Queensland road map to navigate to PNG with. (Walter Mullavey – pers. Comm)

 

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ww11 - much to close for comfort

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