I Never Saw it Coming

Friday, 17 December 2010

On 15 December an overloaded Indonesian fishing boat attempting to get Middle East refugees into Australia ran ashore on Christmas Island, an isolated Australian territory off to the west of Java. The ship’s engine failed and the ship broke up on the rocky coast, at least 30 of the passengers died. The Australian media have been debating why the authorities never saw the ship coming. It hardly surprises me that they missed it, here are four other ‘never saw it coming’ examples:

Poppies31 December 1991 – 56 Chinese nationals on the Isabella land on a remote stretch of the Western Australian coast and nobody notices them until they’ve spent 10 days walking 150km to a Kimberley cattle station.

16 April 2003 – The North Korean freighter Pong Su stops off at Lorne, a popular beach resort in the Australian state of Victoria, to drop off a load of heroin. Fortunately a surfer sees them coming ashore because the Australian navy certainly didn’t. The Pong Su might have sailed all the way around Australia dropping off heroin at every port it came to before things went wrong at Lorne.

Wait a minute, these aren’t poppies!






SAC Museum20 January 1980 – A lumbering old DC7 lands in a field in South Dakota, the crew abandons the aircraft and its cargo of 12 tons of Colombian marijuana.

SAC Museum in Omaha



Check the map, presumably on their way north across the USA they’d flown very close to the Strategic Air Command base at Omaha, Nebraska which was no doubt on high alert for any Cold War Soviet intrusion? I stopped in at the SAC museum in Omaha in 1994 and the next day passed by where the drug-plane landed.

28 May 1987 – German teenager Mathias Rust flies a Cessna light plane to Red Square in Moscow. The cold war is still going on, but all that multi-billion rouble Soviet technology was no better at intercepting him than the American variety was at catching an ancient plane full of drugs.