Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lost Short 'Boat

The ghostly bow of a Short flying boat. [Image from Michael McFadyen's website]

Under the normal methodology* I recently came across Michael McFadyen's excellent website covering various recreational dives and including a number of aircraft wreck dives, among which is that of the scuttled Short Sandringham VH-EBW, of Qantas.

A shot of the instrument panel in the cockpit [Image from Michael McFadyen's website]

Michael start by saying:
It ... came as a great surprise to discover on a trip to Vanuatu in 1991 that a Qantas plane had been wrecked there. Even more surprising was the fact that the plane was still there, sitting upright almost completely intact 41 metres below the surface of the Port Vila Harbour.
The story of this rare example of Short 'boat is an interesting one, and unlike many dive sites, Michael has troubled to explore the history of the aircraft and provides it on his website, here, as well as the references he used. As well as the Sandringham, he also list the other aircraft he dived, an interesting list (here) including a remarkable variety of Pacific machines, and well documented and illustrated.

There's something about an underwater aircraft wreck. Of course any W.W.II era machines which are in salt water at shallow depth are effectively 'ghosts' - their metal so far compromised that removing them now would cause them to crumble and vanish away like a scorched piece of paper. For that, they are best just appreciated for what they are, and prompt questions such as Michael's explored.


*WLFSE - While Looking For Something Else.

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