11 passengers and two crew erre killed when a twin engined light a/c crashed in PNG the other day. They were on their way to treck part of the Kokoda Trail, a WW2 route across the owen stanleys in PNG that saw many aussies and yanks killed and wounded in the war in the pacific, soon to be on your screens.
Over the last 60 years, visitors to the Kokoda region have gone from zero to many thousands, mainly aussies and americans paying homage to their grandfathers by walking a section of the track in a week or ten days. It kills a few people every year through illness, disease and heart attack, but none by a/c crash until now.
It seems it was going around after an aborted landing and smashed into a cliff. Not surprising given the terrain and the weather and the load on board. Just such a sad way to go, its really dreadful.
I have read many biographies on MacArthur. I conclude his hands were tied for much of the time he was in Australia. He desperately wanted to send troops and a/c to Papua New Guinea and the Islands but he did not have them and Washington did not want to send them. He was really on the back boil for a long time after he left the Phillipines. At the time, Australia looked toward the US for help, but it was a long time coming. The people did not know the reasons at the time. We could not understand how we could have the worlds greatest general on our soil and not have any troops to give us. That created a fair bit of hostility in certain quarters. Climaxing in the Battles of Melbourne and Brisbane, where troops from each side had brawls between hundreds of soldiers, climaxing in a full on shoot out with deaths in Brisbane.
I am hoping that some detail of the relationship between Aussie and the US will be shown in the latest Hanks Speilberg series. If anyone can pull this off with some truth, they can.
When you see this series, you will perhaps understand why people decide to go to the third world to retrace the steps of the Diggers of WW2.
PNG is a beautiful place, but it is also a mosquito, fly, leech, midge infested disease ridden hell of a place that is a 6 hour plane ride to help if you live long enough to travel the 4 days to get help in the first place. Back in the 40s, you were infected and infested by all of the above and lice. Tinea, trench foot, scabs, sores, dysentry, berri berri, scabies, typhus, malaria, and many more, all at once. It was harder to go back to help than it was to crawl forward and die beside the track. Perhaps you shot yourself, perhaps you really did take a few of the japs out with a grenade then hug one yourself. Maybe you were snuck upon and bayoneted to death by the japs? or did you just collapse and die, never to be found like hundreds of your mates. The weather is predictable, it rains at 4pm until dawn, then it gets hotter and steamier throughout the day until it rains again at 4pm.
Heres to those who served or died in the Pacific and those poor basterds who went to see them.