Sunday, January 07, 2018

Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander, P2-ISM, North Coast Aviation: Fatal accident occurred December 23, 2017 between Yalumet and Saidor Gap in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea

 Pilot David Tong was once a world-renowned pianist before finding a new challenge in flying.

 Pilot David Tong

You might have read the story of Australian concert pianist turned pilot David Tong who died waiting for help to arrive after crashing in his plane in the Saruwaged Range in the PNG Highlands on December 23, 2017. 

He was in his early 30s. 

Former PNG and Townsville-based Qantas international check pilot Richard Broomhead sent this email early this week. 

It makes for interesting reading. 

This is what he said:

“I deliver an address on the subject ‘Aircraft accidents in PNG’ in which I detail, with photos, the period 1965 to 1996 when over 150 pilots were killed opening up PNG, in particular the Highlands, which cover an area from here (Coolum) to the Gold Coast and the sea coast to Toowoomba. There were no roads to or within the highlands for 30 years. I was on eight searches for missing pilots and we only ever found three, one of whom survived. The young man (David Tong) crashed in the Saruwaged ranges to the north of Lae in PNG on the 23rd of December. Although badly smashed up, and at an altitude of more than 3000 metres, he was able to send an SOS to his mate via his e-phone. The search planes and helicopters could not get near him due to inclement weather and the ground party could only be dropped 3km away due to the almost vertical terrain. He is thought to have died the next day, or perhaps didn’t survive the cold night at that altitude. David gave up a brilliant career as a concert pianist to follow his true love of aviation.”

Original article ➤

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