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The pilot obtained a meteorological forecast which indicated that conditions generally would be suitable for visual flight, but that until 0900 hours there would be areas of drizzle and reduced visibility. He submitted a flight plan which indicated that his route to Warrnambool would be via Sorrento and Colac. The flight proceeded normally to 1,500 feet or about 10 miles west of Torquay, where the aircraft encountered an area of low cloud and drizzle. The pilot descended to remain clear of cloud and when the aircraft had reached the vicinity of the Wurdee Boluc Reservoir he was compelled to fly at an extremely low level to maintain visual contact with the ground. He circled in this area, unable to proceed or to turn back because of the low cloud and reduced visibility in all directions. While flying along the southern edge of the reservoir he observed a line of tall pine trees looming ahead and to avoid them he made a left hand turn over the reservoir. During the turn the port wing tip contacted the surface and the aircraft cartwheeled into the water. There were no witnesses to the accident and one of the four surviving occupants swam a considerable distance to the shore for assistance whilst the other three surviving persons remained standing on the aircraft wreckage which had settled in some 10 feet of water. The fourth passenger had released his seat belt during the flight and was apparently thrown from the aircraft on impact with the water.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 164KB]
General details
Date: 30 April 1971 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0748 EST  
Location:Wurdee Boluc Reservoir Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 05 November 1971 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-24 
Aircraft registration: VH-GWE 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Moorabbin
Departure time:0703
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Last update 13 May 2014