AFL Round 20 – Sydney v Collingwood: Fright night

Mystery still surrounds the crash of Swans Air 020 on Saturday 10th August 2013.

En-route to Premier City, a popular destination in the AFL islands, all contact was lost with the aircraft and an aborted landing at Third Place resulted in severe injuries to the confidence of the crew and passengers. Initial statements indicate that the mid-section of the aircraft caved in under enormous pressure. The passengers later reported the crew acting “sluggish and erratic” and ground level witnesses described the fuselage “folding like a cheap suit.”

Air crash investigators recovered the aircraft’s black box. The following is a partial transcript of communications from Captain McVeigh.

19:55 hrs

“Ladies and gentleman welcome aboard Swans Air 020 to Premier City. With me is Co-captain Kieran Jack and first officers O’Keefe and Bolton. Up front we have second officer Tippett and down back senior engineer Richards who joins us for his 200th trip. Travel time is around two and a half hours and reports indicate clear weather. As you can see we’re off to a smooth start so sit back and enjoy the flight.”

20:05 hrs

“Teddy, I’m holding our course but keep your eyes open back there. Apparently air traffic control at Gieschen didn’t see whatever it was that hit us from behind despite the entire bloody cabin saying otherwise.”

20:15 hrs

“Ok folks looks like we hit some unexpected turbulence but not to worry we should be pushing through it very soon.”

20:30 hrs

“Kieran, Josh check the middle engines, the indicators say they’re failing to generate enough power. The ground crew checked them out and they were certified as being the best in the business so I can’t see why they’re cutting out like that. There’s a storm front approaching and I requested a change to our flight plan but that’s a negative.”

20:40 hrs

“Ah ladies and gentlemen the seat belt light has just gone on as we’ve hit a very rough patch of weather and we need you all to return to your seats and buckle up. I’m taking us down by fifty metres. This shaking should only last a few minutes and if you have any doubts second officer Tippett has all the answers.”

20:45 hrs

“Goddamn what is going on here? We just had someone run from nose to tail and not one person could get to them even after all that emergency tackling training?”

21:15 hrs

“Josh, Shane? Mike? Is there anyone there? I’ve just had Shaw and Malceski sedated, they were babbling something about The Enemy and being overrun. I know last week’s leg was rough but we need everyone to pull together here. Jude take over for a bit I’m going to see what I can do getting Kurt some assistance up front. He’s an able crew member but he hasn’t been with us that long.”

21:36 hrs

“Ah folks please ignore that constant beeping sound. Some form of minor equipment malfunction. We’re not that far from Premier City and we’re doing everything we can to bring you all home safely.”

21:40 hrs

“Jesus the entire panel’s lit up like a Christmas tree here! Kieran let Benny handle it. What’s that? Benny’s missing? Well he’s listed on the manifest. He’s been off for three weeks he should be fresh as a daisy. Well there’s nothing else we can do but wake up your brother. Hannebury’s broken his nose on the overhead luggage door, the crew is a shambles. I’m going to call this one in.”

21:42 hrs

“Air traffic Control this is Swans Flight 20. We’re experiencing massive equipment malfunction here. Everything is shaking and the crew has gone completely to pieces. The mid section of the craft seems to be cracking up under the strain and every time we attempt to isolate the problem it shifts backwards. The tail is holding up but only just.”

21:50 hrs

Communication cuts out. End of transmission.

Air crash investigator Longmire’s subsequent report criticised the crew’s consistent “lack of effort” to react to the clear warning signals but could find no single cause of the crash. “It represents uncharacteristically odd behaviour from an aircraft universally identified as being one of the best of its era.”


  1. Peter Schumacher says

    An interesting take on a very disappointing Sydney loss.

  2. A bit late getting to the read, but I loved this piece!
    And sadly, so true.

  3. having seen that slow motion train wreck first hand it is both brilliantly funny and sadly accurate….

    And thankfully the entire flight crew survived (and all passengers, though with some serious emotional therapy needed). Next stop, Premier City!!

Leave a Comment