1942 KNILM Douglas DC-3 shootdown

1942 KNILM Douglas DC-3 Shootdown

1942 KNILM Douglas DC-3 shootdown

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On March 3, 1942, PK-AFV a Douglas DC-3 airliner, operated by KNILM — the Asian subsidiary of KLM — was shot down over Australia by Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service fighter aircraft, resulting in the deaths of four passengers and the loss of diamonds worth an estimated 150,000–300,000 (the equivalent of A$9.5–19 million in 2010). It is widely believed that the diamonds were stolen following the crash, although no-one has ever been convicted of a crime in relation to their disappearance.

PK-AFV Pelikaan, was a twin-propeller-engined passenger aircraft that had been operated by KLM and KNILM since August 25, 1937. It was on a flight from Bandung, Dutch East Indies (later Indonesia), to Broome, Australia when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft that were carrying out an attack on Broome. PK-AFV crash-landed on a beach at Carnot Bay, 80 km (50 mi) north of Broome.

Pelikaan was initially registered as PH-ALP and was based in the Netherlands. On May 10, 1940, while en-route to Asia, Nazi forces invaded the Netherlands. PK-AFV was transferred to Royal Netherlands Indies Airways (KNILM) and was re-registered as PK-AFV. The aircraft is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a C-47 or Douglas Dakota, which were names given to the military variant of the DC-3.

Final flight

On March 3, 1942, the pilot of PK-AFV was a Russian World War I ace, Ivan Smirnov (or Smirnoff). He, with another two crew members, were transporting nine...
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