This was a contemporary report of the event in the New York Times on January 25, 1954
Kampala, Uganda, Monday, Jan. 25--Ernest Hemingway, the American author, and his wife were reported safe today after two plane crashes in the upper Nile country of East Africa.
A chartered plane carrying the novelist and his wife on a sightseeing trip cracked up Saturday in the wilds near the Murchison Falls but they were picked up unhurt yesterday by a launch taking tourists to the falls.
The launch brought them, to Butiaba, on the shores of Lake Albert, where they boarded a rescue plane. That plane crashed and burned on the take-off, but all aboard escaped unhurt.
A police rescue party then took the Hemingways to Masindi and they were reported today heading for Entebbe by road.
Mr. Hemingway, who has combined a life of action with writing some of the most gripping fiction in modern literature, left yesterday in a chartered plane from Nairobi, capital of Kenya Colony, on a 600-mile flight over Lake Victoria and Lake Albert to the 400-foot Murchison Falls on the lower Victoria Nile River.
This is one of the most inaccessible spots in Uganda--dominated by crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, lions and other big game--and one of the most beautiful.
A search was started when Mr. Hemingway, 55 years old, and his fourth wife, the former Mary Welsh, whom he married in 1946, failed to land at Masindi, an intermediate point east of Lake Albert, for refueling.
After the plane had been reported missing, a British Overseas Airways Corporation pilot reported he had sighted the Hemingway plane near the lower Victoria Nile. He said the plane was only slightly damaged and that the occupants could have escaped.
"One wheel of the undercarriage was broken, but otherwise the plane appeared little damaged," said Capt. R. C. Jude, pilot of a British Overseas Airways Corporation plane that circled the scene, three miles below Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda.
However, neither Captain Jude nor a Royal Air Force search plane pilot who also visited the area saw any sign of life.
A police launch was sent from Butiaba, on the east coast of Lake Albert, a journey of several hours from the scene.
Captain Jude said he had piloted his Argonaut airliner eighty to 100 miles off course to search and saw a silvery Cessna plane lying among scrub trees after he had circled Murchison Falls a few minutes.
"It was the right plane without a doubt," he said. "We saw the identification letters VPKLII very clearly."
After having noted that the plane appeared little damaged, he added, "I would think the passengers climbed out and made for the river, which was only 300 yards away, but you cannot tell about these things."
"It looked like the chap did a neat job of landing the aircraft," he said.
He reported the plane had "plopped right into" scrub trees and the thick bush had made it impossible to discover any signs of human life near by, although he circled low enough to see several elephants and buffaloes roaming about on the other side of the river.
Not far from the spot, the B.O.A.C. crew saw a small boat drawn up at the river bank.
Message Sent to R. A. F.
Captain Jude said he had radioed an R. A. F. search plane that he was circling the area until the R. A. F. plane arrived. Then he flew on to Khartum, the Sudan, and Cairo, where he told his story.
Uganda is a British protectorate in east-central Africa, north of Lake Victoria. Mr. Hemingway has been in Africa for some time, having spent last week at Amboselli National Park in Tanganyika which is dominated by Mount Kilimanjaro, site of one of his most famous stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"