Laud helicopter pilot for his action
Editor’s Note: Article originally appeared in the Sept. 13, 1967 edition of the Beacon.
Austin Garrett, a veteran of World War II, and a veteran helicopter pilot with Eastern Provincial Airways, was the topic of hundreds here during the past week for the manner in which he assisted during last Tuesday’s crash of a Czechoslovakian IL-18 Aircraft at Gander.
Forty minutes after the plane crashed, Garrett and his helicopter were enroute to the grisly burning wreckage located approximately 4500 feet from the end of Runway 32.
Operating in the darkness, the only light to guide Garrett to the crash site was from the light from the burning plane. For nearly seven hours the veteran pilot flew the survivors and then the bodies to the airport. On return trips he would carry supplies and personnel to the wreckage.
At the beginning it would take the helicopter 12 minutes to fly from the Tarmac to the crash site and back; however later in the morning, Garrett was making the round trip in just six minutes.
Later in the morning a second helicopter flown by Harvey Johnson assisted in bringing out survivors and the bodies.
Garrett, who has been flying helicopters for the past nine years, is married to the former Kathleen Herrerton, Grand Falls. They have four children.
The bodies of 29 passengers and crew of Czechoslovakian Airlines who were killed in a crash at Gander on Tuesday, Sept. 4, were returned to Prague on Sunday morning. Before the bodies were loaded onboard an aircraft a ceremony was held on the tarmac of the International Terminal. The ceremony was attended by dignitaries of the Czechoslovakian government and Czechoslovakian airlines. Local representatives included: Mr. Roland Goodyear, Mr. Jack James, Airport Manage; Magistrate Jack A. White, representing the crown; Hon. C. R. Granger, MHA for Gander; and Mr. Jim Tucker, federal member for Trinity-Conception.