Monday, August 7, 2017


A Tiger Moth plane crashed in Spencer Gulf between Port Broughton and Whyalla in 1943. The plane’s pilot, Edward Gage, was a member of the Spencer Gulf Aero Club. He had been a club member for three years prior to his fatal crash. He worked for BHP and he sometimes flew senior BHP personnel around. In 1943, he made a trip to Adelaide with a mercantile marine officer as a passenger. He left Parafield Airport alone that evening, after his mother declined to accompany him back to Whyalla. His plane was last seen heading towards a dust storm over Spencer Gulf, near Port Broughton. It is possible that the plane went down in the dust storm, crashing in to Spencer Gulf. Gage, however, was taking a direct route to Whyalla rather than via Port Pirie where he would’ve been able to refuel his plane. That is what members of the Spencer Gulf Aero Club normally did. They would refuel their planes at Port Pirie before crossing Spencer Gulf at the narrowest point. Any planes which ran low on fuel could then do an emergency landing. Gage ran the gauntlet by heading straight for Whyalla for unknown reasons. It is assumed that his plane then ran out of fuel and crashed in to the sea. The location and depth of the plane was still unknown in 1990. Ron Anchor was searching for the plane in 1990, believing that he had narrowed down the plane’s location to warrant a full-scale search for it. The result of Anchor’s search remains unknown. Sometime between 1943 and 1990, a Port Pirie fisherman thought that he had hooked on to the crashed plane but he died a few weeks later. The ashes of Gage’s wife were scattered in Spencer Gulf after her death in 1988.

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