Kyeema Crash

The 1938 Kyeema crash occurred on the western face of Mount Corhanwarrabul, just south of Mount Dandenong, Victoria, Australia.

On 25 October 1938, eighteen people were killed when the Kyeema, an Australian National Airways DC-2, VH-UYC crashed. The aircraft was in route to Melbourne from Adelaide. The disaster is blamed on a combination of the presence of a heavy fog and the use of an outdated navigational practice which relied solely on landmarks to determine position. During the ensuing investigation, it was decided that the pilot believed he was descending for a landing at Essendon but was grossly off course causing him to crash into the mountain. While not the first fatal accident in Australian aviation history it was unique because it was the first aircraft in radio communication up to the time of impact.

Fourteen people were on board the DC2 plane, the Kyeema, when it took off from Adelaide airport on the morning of the October 25, 1938.

The plane never made it to Melbourne. The pilots had miscalculated their location and flying through thick cloud, they crashed suddenly into the western slopes of Mount Dandenong. All on board died instantly.

On October 25, 1938, eighteen people were killed when the Kyeema, an Australian National Airways DC-2, VH-UYC crashed. The aircraft was in route to Melbourne from Adelaide. The disaster is blamed on a combination of the presence of a heavy fog and the use of an outdated navigational practice which relied solely on landmarks to determine position. During the ensuing investigation, it was decided that the pilot believed he was descending for a landing at Essendon but was grossly off course causing him to crash into the mountain. While not the first fatal accident in Australian aviation history it was unique because it was the first aircraft in radio communication up to the time of impact.

It is 11.22am on October 25, 1938. The weather is clear as DC-2, VH-UYC Kyeema flies out of Adelaide and heads to Melbourne. This is a routine airline flight, one the pilots have done many times before. Despite the cloud cover over Melbourne, the pilots were confident in their visual identification of Daylesford. The ground speed checks weren't necessary. They were on track. As protocol determined, they radioed their intent to descend. A few minutes later, at 1.45pm eastern standard time, Kyeema crashed into the western slopes of Mt Dandenong, killing its eighteen occupants.