Incident de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-ASA,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 64589
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Date:Tuesday 14 January 1947
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH82 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth
Owner/operator:Australian Salvation Army
Registration: VH-ASA
MSN: DHA976/T309
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Cambridge Gulf, 14 miles NW of Wyndham, WA -   Australia
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Katherine, Northern Territories
Destination airport:Wyndham, Westen Australia
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth MSN DHA.976: Taken on charge as A17-541 at 2 Aircraft Depot, Richmond 29.6.42. To 1 AOS Cootamundra 13.7.42. To 8 EFTS Narrandera 6.9.42. Struck Tiger Moth N9173 on landing Lake Coolah, 8 mls NE of Narrandera 25.10.44; to DHA Mascot 10.11.44 for repairs; DHA No T309. To 2 Aircraft Depot, Richmond 5.2.45. To 11 EFTS Benalla 9.2.45; to storage reserve. To CFS Point Cook 11.3.45; to storage 11.5.45 pending disposal.

The first aircraft to carry the registration VH-ASA was this Tiger Moth, formerly RAAF A17-541. It was one of the first military aircraft to be civilianized after WW II, being thus converted in September 1945. Purchased from the RAAF for £468, it was owned at the time by the Australian Salvation Army, based at Darwin and flown by "The Flying Padre" Captain Victor Pederson.

A forced landing in the Cambridge Gulf (14 miles north-west of Wyndham) in the top end of Western Australia on 14.1.47 caused the demise of this aircraft. To quote Capt Pederson:

"One sunset I was coming into Wyndham, a tiny township though an important port some 300 miles from Darwin, when a cyclone came over the town. I flew to the face of the storm hoping that I just might be able to reach the aerodrome - but had to turn and flee. A forced landing was made some fourteen miles north-west of Wyndham on a piece of ground covered with grass. At first it seemed that the machine was making a very smooth landing, but that was only the tops of the grass! As soon as the wheels touched the ground they tripped over a log and VH/ASA was a wreck

That forced landing makes quite a story in itself in which bush fires and crocodiles play a part. The main point was missed by the press - that tragedy was averted because I was able to distil sea water with a service water bottle and a pair of speaking tubes, and thus produce reasonable quantities of fresh water"

The lighting of a signal fire to attract attention and eventual help turned to disaster, when Spinifex grass which covered the ground enabled the fire to work its way against the wind and burn out a big area – including where VH-ASA had crashed.

The pilot and sole occupant - Capt Pederson - was located three days later by a RAAF Dakota search aircraft and rescued.

In 2007, Major David Shrimpton was flying in the area where the first Tiger Moth had met its fate. David writes,

"With an incredibly rough ‘lat’ & ‘long’ marked on my map and GPS set to coordinates close to this mark - I went searching! Not expecting to locate the plane immediately, I was totally amazed when an object on the ground glinted in the sun and caught my eye. Unbelievably the markings on my map were within 20 metres of the wreckage of VH-ASA.

It was quite difficult to curb my excitement of this sighting; and after circling a number of times at low level and carefully surveying the area, I cautiously landed on the mud flats and went to investigate! After capturing a number of photos of the site I began to fossick around the area and gathered together a number of the aluminum panels that were still in a reasonable condition. Although partly eroded, one panel included a faint outline of The Salvation Army Shield."

This particular panel has been donated to The Salvation Army's Heritage Centre at 69 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Cambridge Gulf is a gulf on the north coast of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Many rivers flow into the gulf, including the Ord River, Pentecost River, Durack River, King River and the Forrest River, making the environment an estuarine one.


2. photo of wreck after crash:

Revision history:

22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
24-May-2009 23:07 angels one five Updated
07-Jul-2010 02:42 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Total fatalities, Location, Narrative]
09-Mar-2012 11:06 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2014 01:12 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2014 01:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
29-Aug-2021 02:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Narrative, Category]
29-Aug-2021 17:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Category]
07-Jun-2022 19:54 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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