Beaver Tails master index

 previous  next click on arrows to navigate page by page.

c/n 87

VP-YIM wearing slightly different CAAC livery.
Photo: Unknown photographer © 1950s - via Caz Caswell (Air Team Images)
Photo: Unknown photographer © 1950's - Mike Ody Collection
VP-YIM in a publicity shot from CAAC.
Photo: CAAC © 1950's - Eddie Coates Collection

c/n 87



DH South Africa. Delivered 11-Sep-1950.

• VP-YIM Central African Airways Corp. Named “Impala”. On register at Oct-1952.

Accident: Near Lunzu, Nyasaland. 21-Apr-1956. On a flight between Lilongwe and Chileke, Nyasaland Hit trees and crashed while attempting emergency landing on small path due to poor visibility. Five occupants. No injuries Aircraft written off. (Additional details scroll down.)

Written off

Photos: E. G. Horton © April 1956 - via Mike Paulton

On April 21st 1956 VP-YIM (Impala) was en-route from Lilongwe (LLW) to Blantyre /Chileka (BLZ). Due to poor visibility, the pilot was obliged to make a forced landing at Lunzu (6 kms NE of Chileka) to avoid the hills around Blantyre. The only available open space was too short, and the a/c crashed into trees. The 4 passengers were slightly injured, and the pilot received a broken leg. In spite of this, he crawled back into the fuselage to help the passengers.

The remains were loaded onto a truck and taken back to Chileka. Looks DBR to us - so we suppose she was broken up there.

Info from Mike Paulton via Tony Richardson. Mike's father was the Fire Officer at Chileka Airport (Blantyre) and was involved in the official investigation, taking Mike with him to the scene..

Newspaper report: via Tony Richardson

Five Hurt As C.A.A. Plane Crashes In Mist Near Blantyre

From Our Correspondent
Blantyre, Sunday.

When a Central African Airways Beaver aircraft made a forced landing and crashed 11 miles from Blantyre last night, the pilot, Mr. R. M. Holmes, who had one leg broken and had injured the other, crawled back into the wreckage to rescue one of the passengers.

There were four passengers in the plane, which was on: a scheduled flight from Lilongwe to Blantyre. When the pilot and the passengers were being taken to hospital by car, the car skidded into a ditch but they were able to proceed.

The four passengers were Mr. R. W. Kettlewell, Director of Agriculture, Nyasaland, Mr. I. Berry, of the Federal Civil Aviation Department, Salisbury, Mr. G. McCalman, a Nyasaland Labour Officer, and Mr. F. I. Scott, of Nyasaland.

Mr. McCalman told me the story of the crash.

"We were going down the Shire River," he said. "It got dark early and then the real difficulty came when cloud and mist closed in.

"The pilot followed the railway line, flying very low to the ground, but after a time he told us that unless he put down we might go into the hills around Blantyre. We fastened our belts and waited.

Wings Torn Off

"The pilot found a little open space and we set down, but it was too short and the trees rushed towards us; tearing off the wings. We were tossed all over the place.
 When the plane came to rest it was on its port side. The engine had fallen out.

The starboard door was opened and the others crawled out, but I found that my left arm was trapped by the seat. The others had a look and found that the whole weight of the plane was trapping me. Then the pilot crawled back into the plane to see if he could help. He must have been pretty brave to have done that, for he knew he had a broken leg."

Further Newspaper Cutting
Air crash victim in hospital Mr. F. I. Scott, one of the passengers injured when a C.A.A. Beaver aircraft crashed near Blantyre on Saturday night was flown to Belvedere Airport yesterday. He was taken to the Salisbury hospital in an ambulance.

The pilot of the aircraft, Mr. R. M. Holmes is expected to arrive in Salisbury today.

End of newspaper reports

Dave Vermaak recalls:-

For info. the accident took place on Saturday 21 April. Mike was the last to be moved from the accident site by ambulance. To add insult to injury the ambulance en route to the tar road ran into a ditch before it could get underway again with young Mike.

He was fairly newly married and I collected his wife next day at Chileka Airport and took her to the old hospital in Blantyre to lavish further care and attention to speed his recovery! I think they went back to Salisbury on the Monday or Tuesday.

His widow Val now resides in Pretoria. For info. whilst undergoing his flying training in the SAAF at Dunotter he had his Harvard's wing taken off by another aircraft and he had to bail out! Using the Irving parachute to save his life made him a member of their Caterpillar Club and earned him a Golden caterpillar lapel pin.