Air Disasters

'Firefly' in Hare Bay - starboard wing just covered by sand

In April 1943 Jervis Bay's worst air accident happened when 3 Beaufort bombers were conducting a dummy torpedo attack for Movie Tone News. Navy V.I.P.'s & war correspondents who were observing from a navy ship south of the Bay saw two of the aircraft touch. One of the aircraft wingtips sheared off the others tail section and both planes plummeted into the Bay killing 8 crew members. The entire crash was filmed and the approximate location registered , yet despite the popularity of the Bay as a diving paradise nothing more has been seen of these wrecks until a few years ago when a local diver [ Keith Saunders] located and retrieved a port side propeller section, it was in a remarkable state of preservation even after 50 year on the bottom of the Bay. This propeller is now on display and able to be viewed at Albatross Aviation Museum. Later a portion of a tail section was recovered but nothing else from this tragic accident. Throughout the years of defence aircraft activity over and around the bay, it is speculated that there could be about 20 plane wrecks scattered around the area. The latest was in 1956 when 2 Firefly's crashed just off Huskisson. One plane is in 15 meters of water near Hare Bay discovered by Jack Soeters whilst filming scallop dredging, the other plane with the remains of 2 crew members is somewhere on the bottom of the Bay and is classed as a grave site .Rumour has it that a local diver knows where it is and is remaining silent about its location. Thirteen Beaufort Bombers crashed in or around Jervis Bay during those war years.

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