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RAAF April 1942
Stan Gajda Sept 1979
|Pilot Ivan Smirnoff (survived)
Passenger Mrs. Van Thuyne and her baby (died of wounds)
Force Landed March 3, 1942
Fates of the Crew
After the rescue, Australian Jack Palmer came across the wreckage and before a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) salvage team arrived during April 1942. He found the box of diamonds and gave many away to Aboriginal women he had befriended friendly. He kept quite a few and only surrendered some to the authorities later.
During April 1942, a RAAF salvage crew arrived at the DC-3. They dismantled the wreckage and removed the wings and salvaged any usable parts. Their work completed, they attempted to set the wreck on fire, but it failed to burn.
In the postwar years, this aircraft has become known as the "Diamond DC-3" or Diamond Dakota". Until 1970, the stripped fuselage remained on the beach until when some survey people blew it up with dynamite. Pieces remain, including the wing center section and leading edge of a wing remain to this day.
Stan Gajda adds:
I must say that the remaining wreckage has many bullet holes in it, all 7.7mm size. The zeros must have run out of 20mm ammo over Broome. At a farm near Broome. are the horizontal stabilizers and elevators, the rudder and a wing tip from this plane, all are covered in bullet holes. When I saw this in 1982 the green and brown camouflage paint was still on the wing tip.
At the site the biggest part is the center wing section still with tires on the wheels. Other bits are scattered about along the beach. There have been many cyclones since the war and I believe that a seismic survey team used up their left-over dynamite when they got to Carnot Bay in 1970 to blow up the fuselage.
I knew an old guy in Derby who had seen some of the diamonds and he told me where they were thrown away. I still have not given away this info and the old guy died years ago now. Treasure hunters under the guise of writing a book about this story contacted me many times to give them leads about the plane wreck and missing diamonds, but I did not help them much."
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