In July 1967, a Bush Pilot Cessna 172 crashed in an area northwest of Mount Molloy some 150 kilometres from Cairns.
The plane was carrying two passengers and a pilot with the crash triggering an intensive search operation, involving up to 12 aircraft, community members, police and the army.
It’s believed a forestry ranger discovered the wreckage of the aircraft in August of 1968, but accurate records of its location weren’t kept and so family members of the deceased were unable to say their final goodbyes.
As reported in North Queensland Register, the family of one of the deceased, Michael Daley, recently called on the Wet Tropics Management Authority to help find the plane, followed by a request for public assistance in March.
The recent activity culminated in the surfacing of additional clues, such as old photographs and family notebooks that have been used to rediscover the resting place of the lost aircraft.
In a statement on the plane’s discovery, Wet Tropics Management Authority executive director, Scott Buchanan said the result was welcome.
“The crash is a sad part of our World Heritage-listed rainforest’s recent history,” he said.
“It is of some comfort to know that the families now have a place to remember their loved ones.”
Peter Daley, brother to the deceased, said the support of the local community was critical in finding the lost plane.
“We’ve had so many people get in touch with us. Talking to all these old rangers has really helped us track it down.” Daley said.
“It was a good feeling when we found it. Relief in a way … we were very happy to find it.”
The Daley family plans to make a pilgrimage to Far North Queensland this July to mark the 50th anniversary of the crash.