Emergency Landing told by John Coleman
I was a small boy during World War 2 when a big US army plane, a DC3, landed on our beach in the high tide zone. We had seen planes before but they kept going straight across. Jack Renie Charlie saw it come down and ran back up to the Mission to let Joseph Chapman know. Chapman had warned us all to be careful in this time of war. A big mob of people went down with spears and surrounded the plane. The plane was starting to sink down as the tide came in. There were two men in the plane, both were alive and well apart from being terrified of the scene outside. The plane had run out of fuel so they had to make an emergency landing. Chapman came down and yelled out to the spearmen. They desisted from spearing the airmen. Many people in the settlement had only known the one white man, Joseph Chapman. Most of our people including me were frightened. The situation calmed down and the American airmen were escorted up to Chapman’s cabbage tree house. He fed and housed them for three days. On the fourth day a rescue plane landed up on the saltpan. Everyone, including all us children, walked up to see them off. We carried their bags and they shook hands with each of us in turn. We played on that plane for many years. The wings and propeller ended up in the settlement. The propeller was used as the church and school bell for many years. The American-born son of the pilot ran the kiosk in Pormpuraaw in the 1970s for a few years. His name was Father Frank Newbecker. He was with the Anglican church.
|Artists: Marlene Holroyd, Alma Norman, Mavis Benjamin|
|Acrylic on Linen, 75x101cm|
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