Kokoda Crash

27 08 2009
The Kokoda Crash Site

The Kokoda Crash Site

The Kokoda Crash: the small plane crash that stopped a nation. Thirteen people were on the tiny PNG twin-otter when it plummeted into the Kokoda trail. The passengers were going to make the long journey through the trail to experience what their ancestors accomplished during World War Two. The victims of the crash were completing the trail for noble and courageous causes, some raising money for the school they worked at, others doing something different and experiencing life, but all were stopped in their tracks after the small aircraft crashed into the jungle below.

The weather on the night was horrific at best, not being able to see fifty meters from any direction, rain was plunging down from the clouds, wind uprooting trees. The pilot aimed at entering the runway but retreated into the clouds after a missed attempt. The plane then circled the runway but eventually lost its way flying off above the jungle once more, this was when the aircraft lost the radio signal of the control tower below.

 The search team set off to find the aircraft the next morning, surprised to find it in such terrible conditions when the plane was barely visible on the ground. The shrapnel filled the area, bits in trees, others compressed into the muddy floor. The search team found it very difficult to reach the aircraft as it had crashed into such a dreadful landscape. They eventually winched the thirteen bodies and shrapnel out of the canopy with the use of military helicopters.

The crash site now must be guarded by sentry towers around the clock to prevent looters destroying precious evidence ,after they had previously raided two others aircraft in the area the military felt the need to save any evidence that would help find any trace of what caused the crash. Looters taking the shrapnel and wreckage from the site use it as materials to rebuild their houses.       

In Australia the sorrows were shared by the passenger’s relatives, friends, community and government. Families were in disbelief after hearing the miserable news. Hope left their faces after being told that they had lost their beloved. The opposition leader related to the incident to show support to the grieving families, explaining that his father was also killed in a small plane crash. The victims are now being identified and an investigation is being conducted to discover what caused such a tragic event. 

Mathew Wood






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