Fam­i­lies left in heart­break and loss

Albany Extra - - News - Ge­of­frey Thomas

On the 50th an­niver­sary of Aus­tralia’s sec­ond-worst air­liner crash, the daugh­ter of Capt. Brian Bayly says her thoughts are with oth­ers hurt by the tragedy.

“My thoughts are with ev­ery­one who was af­fected by the crash,” Jane Rush­ton said.

There were many fam­i­lies dev­as­tated by the crash, such as the wife and eight chil­dren of 34-year old Gor­don Collins, who told his wife just be­fore he boarded that he didn’t want to go.

And there was Dorothy Weir, whose hus­band, Gor­don, was a pas­sen­ger, who told re­searcher An­thony James that she “had a strange sen­sa­tion” about the flight.

“My legs sud­denly buck­led un­der me and I could not walk. I just sat there and watched the plane un­til it dis­ap­peared,” she told Mr James.

There were many fam­i­lies left with­out a bread­win­ner and there was no for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion to pros­e­cute those Ansett-ANA staff re­spon­si­ble, so rel­a­tives could get com­pen­sa­tion.

In 2005, the widow of first of­fi­cer Michael Nel­son, Jeanette Nel­son, tried un­suc­cess­fully to have a for­mal in­quest by the coro­ner but it was re­jected.

In a Sun­day Times ar­ti­cle at the time, Mrs Nel­son lamented the tremen­dous hard­ship of those left be­hind.

“The per­sonal hard­ship and tragedies would make you weep,” she said.

For Mrs Rush­ton and her two older brothers, Tony and Ian, the an­niver­sary brings back mem­o­ries of a fa­ther who was a “gen­tle gi­ant” who would re­gale them with sto­ries of fly­ing around the North West.

“Dad loved fly­ing and he loved the North West,” Mrs Rush­ton said.

Capt. Bayly’s widow, Joan, died in June last year aged 94.

“Mum was al­ways pos­i­tive de­spite ev­ery­thing and she said that she had a good life,” Mrs Rush­ton said.

When the tragedy oc­curred Mrs Rush­ton, then 14, and her mother were at home in Ned­lands.

“As I re­call, Capt. Jack Mur­ray was ac­tu­ally ros­tered on for the flight and he came to the house to tell us,” she said.

“My brother Tony heard the news on the ra­dio and Ian was overseas at the time.”

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Capt. Bayly’s daugh­ter Jane Rush­ton with his first and last log books.

The plane wreck­age.

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