Airplane crashes in and around Hong Kong: View pages | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Airplane crashes in and around Hong Kong: View pages


Grief on a beach-1935
Grief on a beach-1935, by IDJ

Phil identified the location as "Tai Wan beach in Tai Long Wan in northern Sai Kung."

Additional notes from IDJ:

An afternoon’s research staying at home enforced by cool and showery weather has unearthed the attached information from 4 sources in my research library relating to the ‘Grief on a Beach’ image.

Hong Kong-RAF crash on beach-1935-001.jpg
Hong Kong-RAF crash on beach-1935-001.jpg, by IDJ

The newsprint, date, location and the names of crew are now known. Engine trouble was the cause of the enforced landing, the location mentioned is “Fung Bay”. Not sure if this name will still exist on modern maps.

Interestingly the same image that I posted on Gwulo has been found in a book with the location stated as being “in China”.

Hong Kong-RAF crash on beach-1935-003.jpg
Hong Kong-RAF crash on beach-1935-003.jpg, by IDJ

Since the twenty years the book was published before the 1997 handover I suppose it’s now correct that the location is now actually in ‘China.’

Hong Kong-RAF crash on beach-1935-002.jpg
Hong Kong-RAF crash on beach-1935-002.jpg, by IDJ

While the book image declares the aircraft being from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, however the other sources say HMS Hermes. It was common practice for aircraft to transfer between ‘Carriers’ as they changed over their periods on the China Station

I'm so pleased to have found this group! I come from Vancouver (which is practically a colony of Hong Kong), and I'm so excited to be planning my first visit to the island in November of this year. My grandfather was a pre-war mountaineer who joined the RAF in late 1941.  He spent the next few years flying over Burma, plus 2 seasons running fitness and survival training to RAF pilots in Kashmir. Following the war, he delayed his return home to England in order to see a bit of the world, and volunteered for a 6-month posting to Hong Kong. 

One of his tasks was to create a survey for an airstrip and its approaches in the straight between Hong Kong and Kowloon.  In March 1946 an RAF Dakota disappeared in heavy cloud around Lantau Island, and my grandfather was assigned to the air search that was carried out. Once the crash site was located, he led a recovery mission to locate the bodies. He described a crash site near the island's main peak: 

 "We flew along the Seaward side of the island then burned round the southern tip and along the mainland shore. In a small bay we located the air-sea rescue launch which flashed a message on its Aldis lamp to the effect that a crash had been located. As we buzzed the launch the crew waved their arms and pointed in the direction of the main mountain summit so off we went to see what could be seen. It was for all the world like flying into the jaws of Glencoe from Loch Leven; the mountains were of the same type and size, rising steeply on both sides. We came to a saddle from which the valley on the far side turned sharply to the right, back to the seaward shore-line of the island. Almost immediately the crashed 'plane (what was left of it) could be seen high up near the crest of the summit-ridge; a great heat-scar stood out like a beacon, on that dark flank of the mountain. We turned about and, at low speed, flew along the ridge for a look-see. A dark scar ran along the flank of the ridge, no more than fifty feet or so below the crest, where the 'plane's starboard wingtip had scraped along, then came the tail-unit and, just ahead of it, a heap of ashes. We circled above the wreck but could see no sign of life and so, in gathering darkness, headed back to base."

Is anybody familiar with this crash? I found the news story from the China Mail dated 1946-03-27. I'm an avid hiker and would love to try to find the site when I'm there. It looks like there are a number of hiking trails on Lantau, but I haven't been able to find any sign of a marker or memorial that might mark the crash site. 



These were the headlines in the South China Morning Post on 26 September 1946. An RAF Dakota had crashed into the hillside above Kowloon Tong immediately after taking-off from Kai Tak airport. The passengers were a mixture of military personnel and Chinese passengers including a family. The most prominent passenger was Colonel Cyril Wild, the chief British War Crimes investigator, whose work had uncovered the closeness of the Japanese Emperor to groups involved with conducting banned gas experiments on human beings. Wild was allegedly on the point of having the Emperor arrested for war crimes. He had spent his last evening in Hong Kong before the flight to Singapore with the redoubtable Jack Edwards. In more recent times he was the well-known Hong Kong resident who was an untiring champion of Far East POWs and their widow’s on compensation and passport issues.


This website alleges the flight was sabotaged at the instigation of those in post-war power in Japan (ie 5 Star General Macarthur and his cohorts) to ensure Wild could not take his investigations further and that his incriminating research materials ‘disappeared.’ Googling Colonel Wild’s name also brings up many stories related to this crash on other websites.


The main crash story has been written by someone who knew Wild, and although it could be regarded as the stuff of conspiracy theories, when read in conjunction with books such as Sterling & Peggy Seagreave’s, ‘The Yamoto Dynasty -- The Secret History of Japan’s Imperial Family’ it doesn’t seem so unbelievable.

Here's the report that IDJ posted from the 27 Jan 1947 edition of the SCMP:

Gold Cargo Worth US$15,000,000
Scattered Over Hill-slope

The Philippines Airlines Dakota plane, PIC-2, which was reported missing since 3p.m. on Saturday, was located about 9 a.m. yesterday. It had crashed on Mount Parker, Hong Kong Island, burst into flames and been destroyed. The four members of the crew, including a woman (Stewardess) were all dead. The plane carried cargo only, including a shipment of gold valued at US$15,000,000 consigned to seven banks. Some of this rolled down the hillside and some melted, but it is understood that almost all has been recovered. Mount Parker is 1734 feet high. The pilot, flying in thick rain mist, failed to clear it by about 50 feet.
A Dakota C47, the plane was specially chartered to carry the large consignment of gold bars and coins, said to be valued at HK$60,000,000 for seven local banks. The RAF said that the plane left Makati airfield, Manila, early Saturday morning and was in almost continuous radio communication with Kai Tak. At 3 p.m. the plane was making its approach to the airfield from the south and was receiving its final instructions preparatory to the let down. The pilot was told to climb higher. The message was not acknowledged and contact was not re-established. It was thought that the pilot may have decided to put back to Manila, but when the bodies were found, a watch on one of them had stopped at 3.02p.m.-indicating that the plane had hit the mountain almost immediately after the signal was sent. On Saturday the RAF could not say that the plane was missing until enquiry had been made from Manila to discover whether she had put back there-as another plane recently did. Manila’s reply at nightfall was negative. Meanwhile RAF search planes and rescue teams had been made ready; but it was too late and the weather too thick for an air search. The Police and Army were notified.

Search at Sea

It was first thought that the plane had crashed outside Hong Kong in pirate infested waters. HMS Finisterre and other naval and police launches were sent on Saturday evening to conduct a thorough search, with the order to continue operations at night. They covered a considerable area, including Junk Bay-leading to rumours that the plane had hit Devil’s Peak. A villager passing the Shaukiwan Police Station late Saturday night reported that he had seen something burning faintly on the hillside, but although more searching parties were sent out, they could not confirm the report as it was dark and misty and the hillside was difficult to climb. Rescue parties combed the hills early yesterday morning and the wreckage was located about 9 a.m. when the mist had cleared somewhat.
High police officials, including Commissioner of Police ASP Luscombe and ASP Kellett arrived at the scene soon after the wreckage was located and a police cordon was immediately thrown around to guard the gold bars and coins which were scattered about an area 100 feet wide. According to the police 60% of the valuable cargo could be recovered easily, but some coins were fused into the metal of the plane by the intense heat. The plane had broken her back and was in two pieces, with charred wreckage covering an area some 15 yards wide. The crew consisted of Pilot, O.T. Weymouth, Co-pilot, M.A. Lim, Radio-Operator, B. Merza and Air-Hostess, Miss I. Chuidian. The police located the four bodies lying among the ruins, burnt beyond recognition. They were brought down from the mountain yesterday afternoon.
Salvage work soon began and when a SCMP reporter visited the scene, more than 30 gold bars had been recovered and loaded on a lorry to be taken to the vaults of the Hong Kong And Shanghai Bank. Over 20 coolies and several constables were seen coming down the dangerous slope nearly 1,000 feet from the road, each carrying a gold bar weighing over 10 pounds. It is believed that the plane carried 2½ tons of the valuable metal. The valuable cargo is said to be consigned to seven banks in Hong Kong and is said to have been insured with Lloyds. The consignees are the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, the Chase Bank, Bank of Communications, Belgian Bank, American Express, Bank of East Asia and the Salt Industry Bank. An official of Philippine Airlines came by plane from Manila yesterday afternoon. The scene of the disaster is about 1,000 feet above the Island Road, a few minutes drive from Shaukiwan Police Station. Mount Parker is at the eastern end of the island, in the loneliest section, with no settlement near it. This, and the fact that the plane struck the far (south) side of the hill-top in thick rain fog explains why the crash was not seen or heard and why the wreckage was not located earlier. It was learned from the police last night that the scattered gold coins had not all been recovered and that heavily armed guards were on duty at the scene throughout the night.

IDJ added that the crash  "scattered millions of dollars of gold bullion across part of Mount Parker on Hong Kong Island. Metal detectors enthusiasts be aware there still may be gold in the hillls! Although no doubt the bank's insurers would want a share if any were found even after all this time."

We'll find out, as the SCMP reports that Craig and a couple of colleagues recently discovered one of those scattered gold coins:

Henry Ching writes:

There have been a number of postings recently on the crash of the CPA plane on Mount Butler in 1949 and air hostess Olive Batley who lost her life in that crash.  There was another and perhaps more dramatic crash involving a plane owned by CPA which occurred in 1948 which may be of interest. The plane was a Catalina and was on its way to Macau from HK. It crashed into the Pearl River estuary about ten miles from Macau as the result of an unsuccessful hijacking attempt.  25 of the 26 people on board lost their lives – the survivor was one of the hijackers. He spent some years in prison awaiting trial, but he was never convicted as there was apparently some doubt as to jurisdiction.  The air hostess was 21 year old Delca de Costa. Not much seems to be known about her, but probably a member of the local Portuguese community or from Macau. Her body was never recovered.

Wikipedia has additional information about this incident.

CNAC plane XT-104 crashed on Basalt Island on 21st December, 1948. 

David Pickerell investigated this in the mid-2000s, and has written up a good report:

Thanks to IDJ for the pointer to this.

23 passengers and crew were killed when the plane crashed after hitting the wall of the Braemar Reservoir.

There is more information in this thread:

A Skymaster operated by POAS [Pacific Overseas Airways (Siam) Ltd] crashed at Mount Parker on 11th March 1950. All 18 passengers and 8 crew members were killed.

Newspaper clippings from IDJ:

AIR CRASH-Mount Parker-11 March 1950-page 01
AIR CRASH-Mount Parker-11 March 1950-page 01, by IDJ
AIR CRASH-Mount Parker-11 March 1950-page 002
AIR CRASH-Mount Parker-11 March 1950-page 002, by IDJ


IDJ adds this one, noted in the Civil Aviation Department Annual Report:

The Civil aircraft concerned was a DC-3 of Siamese Airways which on the 9th April, 1951 crashed into the sea, a mile or so east of Cape D'Aguilar. Sixteen persons were killed ...

IDJ found a later reference to it in Peter Moss's book "No Babylon". Moss describes an outing on a trawler from Aberdeen, that pulls up what he believes to be a DC3's landing gear in its nets.

Over 60 years ago, Gordon Randall made the headlines:


Here's how he remembers the day's events:

The accident happened just over 62 years ago, to be exact on the 27th April, 1952 when I was a Pilot Officer in the Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force based at Kai Tak airport. The commanding officer was A W Wood, Wing Commander DFC, BEM.

I was authorised for a low flying exercise around the Lantau  area when after forty five minutes of flight time at about 1230 hours in the vicinity of San Miguel Brewery, Castle Peak Road the Harvard's port wing tip touched the sea due to turbulence. With alarm bells ringing in my mind I also thought ‘Oh dear, action required.’ At that stage, I instinctively felt that it would be safer to ditch the aircraft. Gaining a bit of height, I turned off the fuel and switched off the ignition also tightened the harness and disconnected the R/T plug.

With the canopy open I proceeded as trained to ditch  at the lowest speed without stalling, by easing back on the control column in order that the tail of the aircraft touched the water first. Apart from the shudder on impact and the rumbling sound I felt no violent movement of the Harvard which then floated for a brief moment before the nose of the aircraft started to submerge. When the plane sank further, I was able without much effort to clamber out of the cockpit and enter the sea. I no longer felt threatened! I was brought ashore by a police launch which happened to be in the area. 

After making contact with Kai Tak, I was brought back to base and was confronted by the CO in his office. He was obviously concerned and sternly said to me only four words "You silly little man". Needless to say that dressing down was enough to make me feel so small. I was subsequently severely reprimanded.

On salvage, the aircraft categorised as scrap and a total loss. For the interest of wreck divers it was laid to rest in twenty six fathoms of water at 22 degrees 20’N and 114 degrees 05’E ! 

And here's how it was reported in the newspapers:


Thanks to Gordon for sharing his story.

Regards, David

All of the crew & passengers on board survived, despite the plane bursting into flames. However a man who had been at the edge of the runway was killed (see page 10, The China Mail, 1953-07-28).


Crash cutting South China Morning Post 27 July 1953.
Crash cutting South China Morning Post 27 July 1953., by Jim Benny 1953-54


Air crash local UK paper
Air crash local UK paper, by Jim Benny 1953-54


RAF Handley Page Hastings crash possible cause
RAF Handley Page Hastings crash possible cause, by IDJ



RAF Handley Page Hastings crash.jpg
RAF Handley Page Hastings crash.jpg, by IDJ

I recently heard a story about a privately owned Spitfire crashing into Sai Kung's Port Shelter some time in the 1950's. Do any of the old timers (or historically minded new timers) have any recollection of any stories related to this - or is it just an urban rumour?

Chai Wan plane crash site.
Chai Wan plane crash site., by Colin Ford


USAF plane crashes into Shaukiwan hill-1961
UASF plane crashes into Shaukiwan hill-1961, by IDJ


This is the report of a successful crash-landing after mechanical failure. Two weeks later the same pilot had a fatal crash at Lion Rock Ridge (see

1962 Hawker Hunter Crash

hawker crash 1962

 I have been researching the story of the Hawker crash on Dec 28th 1962 in which Flt Lt David Crichton died , and was very surpirised to learn he had crash landed successfully just a few weeks earlier (see  David Crichton was my wifes uncle and last week Davids sister , my wifes Aunt Anne retold the tragic event . She is well and living today in australia . We live in the uk. David is buried in the colonial cemetry which Anne has visited .

I'm not sure she knows about this crash landing earlier that month . she will be very shocked when we tell her . All these years later it shows the power of the internet . 

Anyway if anyone has any other recollections or information please post ! 

Hunter Crash

Hello Rob


I too remember that day clearly. I was at school at St Georges in Kowloon Tong (just below Lion Rock) and saw the rescue helicopters flying around, and think I may have seen the smoke, but I'm not sure. I also vividly remember the previous articles in the papers concerning the passenger flight and the wheels up landing.


At the time I was 14 and had just developed an interest in Aviation, which continued into professional flying from which I recently retired.


Anyway, a day or so after the accident I climbed Lion Rock with a friend and visited the accident site. There was a small hole in the ground (about Hunter size) which was about 10 foot deep. The surrounding grass was burnt as the papers reported. I did take some pictures but, alas, they were lost when my mother died recently.


However, I did pick up a small part of the aircraft ( I know I shouldnt have) and it is an electrical connector. I got it looked at by an engineer at work once. You can still see some earth inside it. It has sat on my mantlepiece ever since.


I cannot think of a better home for this and would be delighted if you would have it.


Please let me know and I will send it on. I am in Essex by the way.



Lion Rock Hunter Crash

I have just picked up on this thread several months late, but thought that I would make a minor contribution.  I was only four years old in 1962, but I have a vivid memory of the crash because my father was the station commander at RAF Kai Tak when it happened and he too flew the Hunters on 28 Sqn.  We lived on the top floor of a block of flats on Waterloo Road and I was playing on the verandah when the Hunter flew by.  I watched it fly straight into Lion Rock and a large black mushroom cloud of smoke rising into the air after the crash.  I obviously didn't know who the pilot was, but I do remember my father musing about the cause of the accident.  I'm afraid that is the extent of my memory.

Lion Rock Hunter Crash

I have searched a few times over the years and only now traced this site.  I lived in the army flats at Kowloon Tsai, just under Lion Rock.  I in my room and heard an enormous bang.  I could not see the top of the rock for the balcony above, but after getting out onto the balcony could clearly see the smoke rising.  I too climbed up to the crash site the following day with a friend.  The point of impact was on the rear side of the hill, just below the summit.  My understanding is that two aircraft were about to line up with the runway for a landing and that the leader had just cleared the summit but his No.2 had been just too low to do so

Lion Rock Hunter Crash

I did not actually see the aircraft on that day, as did TimOman. However, my understanding of HOW it crashed is the same as his. I was aged 10 at that time and living very close to Osborn Barracks. I was very interested in planes, especially military ones. I would go out in the open to watch whenever a Hawker Hunter flew by. A flight routine as I could see was to go over the Lion Rock from the Shatin side towards the direction of Lei Yue Mun (over the harbour). Then they would bank to the right and fly over Hong Kong Island in a westerly direction. Next over Stone Cutters Island and headed towards Kai Tak, somewhat in an clockwise loop. From where I lived I heard them only when they were over the Lion Rock range i.e. within my line of sight. I think they probably were just a few hundred feet above the range (usually over the saddle where the crash occurred) when they started this run towards the direction of Lei Yue Mun. The bit from that point on up until the bank to the right was in a straight line and appeared to be the fastest bit of the circuit. I was having lunch on that day and I heard the sound of one of those "runs". With rice bowl in hand I did not go out to watch. The sound of that run was however followed by the sound of a huge explosion. When I rushed out to watch a pillar of black smoke was there over the saddle (a short distance west of the Lion Rock peak). From a photo that I saw on a newspaper the next day the plane seemed to have ploughed straight into a slope just about a hundred feet below the ridge line. It was also reported that only part of the remains of the pilot was recovered. It is a very sad story. I understand that the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department these days compiles reports on crashes that occur in Hong Kong. I doubt whether it did back then, especially when it was a military aircraft. I grew up in the age of the Venom (Vampire?) and the Hawker Hunter and even now have very fond memory of them. The last time I was in London I took time to visit the RAF Museum and to my delight, a Hawker Hunter was still there! Hope this 'recollection' of mine does its bit in making the story complete.

Visiting Hong Kong in August 2012


I am visiting Hong Kong on business in early August and my father, Bruce Crichton Robertson, a cousin of David Crichton, has asked me to visit the Colonial cemetery to pay my respects.   I was wondering if anyone can assist me in locating David's grave?

Kind regards

David Crichton's grave


The list of graves has this entry:

17---/09/09-CrichtonD G1962-12-28264335

The first entry gives the plot, so the grave is in section 17. The location of each section within the cemetery can be found on this map.

Regards, David


Lion Rock Hunter Crash

If anyone is still interested in this subject, another "I was there" report is here