25 June 1980 – Caribou escaped ditching in Banda Sea

A Caribou light transport (A4-179) faced a dire emergency on this day after losing an engine on a routine flight between the Indonesian islands of Tual and Ambon. The aircraft was flying in support of Operation Pattimura, a three-year project conducted by Army under Australia’s Defence Cooperation Program to provide maps of Indonesia’s eastern Maluku province (better known as the Moluccas or Spice Islands).  With five passengers as well as the crew on board, it was still 75 kilometres short of its destination when one engine cut out.  Despite full power being applied to the remaining engine, the Caribou lost 4000 feet in altitude. The rate of descent was stabilised at 450 feet above water only by jettisoning the aircraft’s full cargo load into the Banda Sea –– less the barest essentials which the RAAF medical officer on board assessed would be required if forced to ditch.


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