Diamond Dakota Mystery

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Jack Palmer, wearing white singlet, and Australian salvage crew at DC-3 PK-AFV force landed on the beach at Carnot Bay

Mission History
On March 3, 1942 took off from Java transporting civilians being evacuated and a box of diamonds. This DC-3 arrived over Australia during the Japanese air raid on Broom. Attacked by A6M2 Zeros from the 3rd Kokutai, the DC-3 was hit by gunfire and the port engine was set on fire. During the attack two of the passengers, Mrs. Van Thuyne died from bullet wounds to her chest. Her baby also died, probably from the same bullet wounds. The damaged DC-3 force landed intact on the beach at the north side of Carnot Bay, roughly 60 miles north of Broom.

Fates of the Crew
After the crash, the surviving crew and passengers remained with the aircraft to await rescue. On March 4, 1942 a H6K2 Mavis on a reconnaissance mission spotted the crash site and dropped at least two 65kg bombs. On March 7 or March 8, the survivors were rescued. A box of diamonds was accidentally left at the crash site.

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DC3 PK AFZ Beached at Carnot Bay

When the DC-3 force landed, it sank into the sand and swung into the surf which was at high tide extinguishing the fire was extinguished.

After the rescue, Australian Jack Palmer came across the wreckage and before a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) salvage team arrived during April 1942. He found the box of diamonds and gave many away to Aboriginal women he had befriended friendly. He kept quite a few and only surrendered some to the authorities later.

During April 1942, a RAAF salvage crew arrived at the DC-3. They dismantled the wreckage and removed the wings and salvaged any usable parts. Their work completed, they attempted to set the wreck on fire, but it failed to burn.

In the postwar years, this aircraft has become known as the “Diamond DC-3″ or Diamond Dakota”. Until 1970, the stripped fuselage remained on the beach until when some survey people blew it up with dynamite. Pieces remain, including the wing center section and leading edge of a wing remain to this day.

Diamonds were scattered on the beach, and various aboriginal people collected the diamonds and brought it to Beagle Bay, where they bartered diamonds for coffee, tea, sugar rations. Once word got out, that the police were trying to recover the diamonds, the aboriginal people got scared and threw the diamonds into springs around Beagle Bay and in the Banana Well.