Thursday the 29th July 2004 was an unusual winter’s day for Saunders Beach. Dark clouds rolled in and hung around, giving the sea a fierce appearance. Rain threatened.
About 1.30pm on that Thursday Werner and Sandra Grimm were flying their ultralight over the Townsville region. They had left Mackay that morning enroute for their home on the Tablelands. When the wind strengthened and visibility became poor Werner decided to land on Saunders Beach. A guest from the B&B who was out walking with her Walkman [MP3 player] had a close call – she didn’t see the plane until it flew past her. The ultralight rolled safely to a stop on the beach in front of the houses in Cay Street. Deeragun Police Sergeant Robbie Nalder said the police had received numerous reports from concerned people. Australian Customs investigated the landing also. No mechanical problems were found.
Unfortunately for Werner and Sandra the Bed & Breakfast had no vacancies for people but their plane found an excellent parking spot tethered to a coconut palm outside the B&B (see photo).However the Grimms didn’t go homeless – a local family offered their hospitality.
The bad weather continued on Friday, forcing the Grimms to stay grounded another night. On Saturday Saunders Beach farewelled the Grimms and their ultralight.
Newspaper Articles: Townsville Bulletin – 30 July 2004 p2 Visitors drop in. Stopover at B&B for light plane; 31 July 2004 p15 Weather strands flyers at beach another day. Retrieved from Database: Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre.
Lanette West said:
Another great story to put Saunders Beach on the map!! A wonderful detour for the Grimms combined with a safe landing on the beach and great hospitality from the locals.
Thank you for your comments. From up in the black clouds the sand of Saunders Beach must have looked like an answer to a prayer for the Grimms.