Post by angelsonefive on Apr 5, 2010 12:55:20 GMT 12
Dave, this will be the crash of the Fairey IIIM F1134 in the Waitemata Harbour, off Birkdale, on 29/10/1930. The crew of 3 were unhurt and picked up by the Saro Cutty Sark flying boat L3 which was following. The Fairey was salvaged the next day but, although almost undamaged in the incident, was never repaired.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 30, 2017 10:41:07 GMT 12
I just happened onto a detailed account of the loss of NZ632 (F1134) from the NORTHERN ADVOCATE, 30 OCTOBER 1930
AUCKLAND SEAPLANE SUNK
TERRIFIC IMPACT WITH WATER
THREE MEN SUBMERGED 50 FEET
MIRACULOUS ESCAPE FROM DEATH.
(Special to “Northern Advocate.") AUCKLAND, This Day.
An amazing escape from death was experienced by three occupants of the New Zealand Air Force’s Fairey seaplane when it plunged into the harbour near Hobsonvillc during the progress of an air speed test on the Waitemata at mid-day yesterday. Three men — Flight-Lieutenant S. Wallingford, who was piloting the machine, Corporal H. Smith and Mr A. G. Andrews, aircraftman apprentice — were carried by the sinking seaplane 50 feet under water, and owe their lives mainly to the buoyant properties of their safety jackets, which lifted them to the surface.
Squadron-Leader L. M. Isitt, who was following the seaplane in the flying boat Cutty Sark, saw the machine strike the water at a speed of 125 miles and disappear from view. He alighted on the spot, where the seaplane had vanished two minutes after the accident, and saw the three occupants come to the surface.
The story told by the seaplane occupants is that after circling round the warships of the Dutch naval squadron as they were taking their departure for Brisbane at 10.50 a.m. Fairey III proceeded to test out her engine speed over a known distance on the way back to the base. She attained a speed of 135 miles an hour, and, when 1½ miles from the base, commenced to slow down and reduce altitude. She was believed to be flying only 20 feet or 30 feet above the surface of the harbour when the speed fell to 126 miles an hour, but there was evidently a miscalculation of the altitude, for suddenly the floats hit the water with terrific force. The machine turned on to her nose, and she went down, "like a stone."
"I did not think they would ever got out alive," said Squadron-Leader Isitt, who saw the whole incident from the air. "I could see they had been taken under the water with the machine, and I knew that if they had been injured in the smash, or had been caught under the plane, they would never come to the surface. I immediately alighted in the Cutty Sark on the water where the machine sank, and as I did so I saw all three of them swimming round. They must have been quite two minutes under water before they struggled free and came up, yet they did not appear to be at all exhausted. They were extremely lucky. They were all wearing Reed jackets, which are filled with kapok, and we never strap ourselves in. To those circumstances they owe their lives. I helped them into the Cutty Sark and flew to Hobsonville, where, with the exception of a bruised thumb received by Corporal Smith, they were found to be none the worse for their sensational adventure."
"As for as the pilot is concerned, the mishap was apparently due to an error of judgment on his part," said Squadron-Leader Isitt, "That, however, is not the serious thing it would be in the case of a commercial machine carrying passengers. An Air Force pilot engaged in a legitimate test such as was being carried out today, is entitled to take risks that would not be warranted in the case of a commercial machine."
The seaplane now lies in 35 feet to 40 feet of water at low tide. Oil and petrol rising to the surface enabled her to be located 500 feet from the northern shore, midway between Island Bay and the air base at Hobsonville.
That, the three occupants were able to free themselves from the machine while under water points, it is hoped, to the fact that the craft is not hopelessly damaged. Salvage operations commenced early today.