Rescue bid for WWII bomber

CRASHED: The Wirraway wreck in Lake Corangamite.


OCEAN Grove diver Rod Knights wants to resurrect a World War II Wirraway aircraft from Lake Corangamite where it crashed more than 60 years ago.
Mr Knights plans to extract the plane from in 1.3 metres of mud and 1.5m of water, restore the plane to original condition and put it on public display, possibly at Ocean Grove.
But first he has to negotiate a paperwork jungle with Heritage Victoria, the RAAF, Corangamite Shire Council and the region’s catchment management authority.
The CAC Wirraway A20 714 crashed in 1950 during a low-level training exercise. A farmer rescued the pilot, who suffered minor injuries.
Mr Knights became interested in raising the Wirraway after receding waters revealed the aircraft during the drought of 2005.
“Under the motor is well preserved,” he told the Independent.
“There are sort of two areas: under the mud and above the mud, which is badly deteriorated. But the plane has an internal frame and I’ve done ultrasonic metal-testing and it’s come out quite well.
“Originally, I was hoping to raise in October, last month, but the paperwork takes time,” Mr Knights said.
“It might take 20 years. Every single nut and bolt needs to be checked and maybe replaced.
“I have people helping with the scientific side of things, soil sampling, metal testing and the like.
“Obviously, where things are too far gone, I’ll have to source original parts where I can or get them made.”
Mr Knights said he worked as a professional commercial diver and salvage diver and had always maintained an interest in Australian aircraft.

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