DATE UNKNOWN
LOCATED WRECKAGE OF

A CATALINA FLYING BOAT
IN CALLIOPE CHANNEL
OFF PALM ISLAND

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A Catalina at Mackay Airport - 1961

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A Catalina at Mackay airport - 1961

On a date unknown, the wreckage of a USN Catalina was found submerged in the Calliope Channel off Palm Island.

 

SUNDAY MAIL
8 December 1996

Catalina's sea grave
The bodies of one of the world's most famous aircraft have been found in murky graves off Townsville's coast.

Now one of the few remaining Catalinas is set to be made into a war memorial for the pilots who flew them.

Known as the great flying boats, the craft were used to pluck 2,500 airmen from the Indian Ocean during World War II.

They could fly for 32 hours non-stop.

Ivan Peirce piloted Catalinas in the Double Sunrise Service from Perth to Ceylon - a service so named because they saw two sunrises on their non-stop 30-hour flight.

He said the planes, on loan from the US, were dumped after the war when the government was told to either buy or destroy them.

A group of former World War II pilots from Western Australia found the few in existence were either museum pieces or privately owned.   The Townsville retrieval operation may have been aborted if not for the grand-daughter of one of the pilots.

Through the Internet, she received an anonymous tip-off.

No one yet has seen the planes, believed to be off Palm Island and Townsville, but Mrs. Peirce believes they will be salvageable.

Navy divers are expected to photograph the wrecks in January.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"Diary of WWII - North Queensland"
Complied by Peter Nielsen

 

SOURCE:-   Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia

Crash:         No. 324

Position:     18.45 - 146.44

Department of Aviation Chart No:       3219

 

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This page first produced 21 June 1999

This page last updated 21 June 1999