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At approximately 1325 hours Eastern Standard Time on 26 September, 1970, a Piper PA23-250 Aztec aircraft, registered VH-SPM, collided with the precipitous face of a ravine, 490 feet below the main line of a ridge, on the eastern slopes of Mt. Scratchley in the Territory of Papua. The aircraft was engaged on a charter flight for the carriage of passengers and baggage from Kokoda to Port Moresby. The aircraft reported its departure from Kokoda but, when it did not arrive at Port Moresby, search and rescue procedures were initiated. The wreckage was sighted on 1 October, 1970 in dense rain forest, 10,100 feet above mean sea level. At first, the efforts of ground rescue parties to reach the wreckage were frustrated by extremely bad weather conditions, the high altitude and the precipitous terrain. Thirteen more days elapsed before a member of a mountain rescue party reached the accident site to find that the aircraft had been destroyed by impact forces and the pilot and the three passengers on board· had suffered fatal injuries.

Download Final report
[ Download PDF: 8.1MB]
General details
Date: 26 September 1970 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1325 EST  
Location:Mt. Scratchley in the Territory of Papua Investigation type: External Investigation 
State: International  
Release date: 25 April 1971  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Aircraft details
Aircraft model: PA23-250 Aztec 
Aircraft registration: VH-SPM 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Kokoda
Destination:Port Moresby
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Last update 16 May 2014