Rugged rainforest hides forgotten plane crash site

The family of a man who died in a far north Queensland plane crash is searching for the elusive site where the aircraft was found almost half a century ago.

Bad weather caused a Cessna 172 carrying two passengers and a pilot to crash near Mt Fraser, 150 kilometres northwest of Cairns, in July 1967.

Community members, police and the army searched for weeks - initially along the slopes of Mt Lewis - to find the plane but failed.


Almost a year later, the crash site was discovered by a ranger just 200 metres from a forestry camp near the foot of Mt Fraser.

But because there are no accurate records of the crash site’s location family members have contacted the Wet Tropics Management Authority for assistance.

Kewarra Beach resident Peter Daley, whose older brother, Michael, died in the accident, says the exact location of the site has been lost over time.

"It's been about 38 years since I was at the site," Mr Daley says.

"Mum and dad used to go up quite often. We were living in Sydney at the time [of the crash]. We used to go up with our extended family but haven’t been for some time."

The Daley family hope to erect a memorial at the site commemorating the 50th anniversary since the crash this year.

The Authority’s Executive Director Scott Buchanan says the plane was discovered in extremely rugged terrain.

"We know from old reports that the plane caused little damage to surrounding vegetation but left a large crater in the ground," Mr Buchanan says. "That makes our job much harder but not impossible."

A search within Mt Lewis National Park was conducted by the family and the Authority in early March. A second search will be conducted this Saturday.

Mr Buchanan says he is confident the family is close to finding the site.

"We've conducted our own research and uncovered some historical records that lead us to believe we’re on the right track," he says.

Any community members with further information on the 1967 plane crash are urged to contact Wet Tropics Management Authority on 07 4241 0500 or email  

Rugged rainforest hides forgotten plane crash site

Published: 24th May 2017

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