The Satchel Review - October 6, 2012

Tracy Champan's "Many Rivers to Cross" came to mind this week as it was reported that NASA's Curiosity had come across evidence of a river on Mars. Water on the Red Planet well, I'll be!

But after a two-day search for a 1934 vintage plane containing six people, it was found with no survivors in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. A rescue helicopter sighted the red biplane 14 kilometres north of Borumba Dam just before 2pm on Wednesday, reported the ABC.

The deceased include pilot Desmond Porter, 68, his wife Cath, 61, from Tingalpa in Brisbane's east; John Dawson, 63, and his wife Carol Dawson, 63, also from Tingalpa; and Les D'evlin, 75, and his wife Janice D'evlin, 61, from Manly West.

The Courier-Mail called them the "Best of Friends" in a front-page headline, detailing the relationship enjoyed by the inseparably "close mates, united by school, work, marriage and a thirst for adventure".

The accident was both a shock to their families and the vintage aircraft community.

"Aviation can be a cruel child and you only have to make small mistakes and it can catch up on you," said Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) spokesman Mike Barton.

Also in Queensland, four girls were ushered to the airport at the behest of the Family Court, and to the anguish of their mother, in order to be returned to their father in Italy in compliance with The Hague Convention.

Judge Colin Forrest said he had sought the guarantee of the father that he would not press charges against the girls' mother if she also returned to Italy.

The vision of Australian Federal Police prying the girls from their mother was highly disturbing, but so too was a comment reportedly made by their maternal great-grandmother when the AFP found them in hiding.

"How exciting. Who is going to play you in the movie? They will have to find a good little dark-headed actress to play you."

Deary me.

The Bali Bombings anniversary reminded us all this week that life can be short, and holidays are no sweet escape from that reality, as victims of the 2004 Thai tsunami would know too well. These coastal places of retreat for Westerners have not been the same since.

Still, it was terrorism, not natural disaster, that took the lives of 202 people in 2002, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians. The name "Jemaah Islamiah" haunts many of the survivors, many whose stories and strength of character have inspired us to get on with life while we have it.

The shooting down of an army helicopter by Syrian rebels east of Damascus was a reminder of how that country remains in civil war. More than 30,000 souls have been taken since the outbreak of conflict 19 months ago.

Middle Eastern conflict permeates international reportage pages and adjacent social media streams, which has largely come to define that geographic area as one at war in the minds of Westerners. A recent headline from The New York Times read, "Iran Supplying Syrian Military via Iraq Airspace".

Parochially, there was an accident on Mount Tamborine Tuesday morning involving the collision of a car and a motorbike at the intersection outside of Spice of Life cafe on Main Street.

The motorbike t-barred the car, which pulled unsuspectingly out of the intersection; both drivers escaped, for the most part, unscathed, though the car and motorbike were not so well off

The motorbike rider flipped onto the car and fell off onto the road, while the car driver at fault was white as a ghost. The former was reportedly the brother-in-law of GWAS; the latter a medical student on his first day of internship.

Shocks, jocks, accidents, aeronautical endeavours with mixed results and errors of judgement were truly the order of the week. Commiserations to all who have lost a loved one, even temporarily.

Girl With a Satchel