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Pannikin Plain Cave

Updated on October 25, 2014

Pannikin Plain Cave Expedition Disaster Inspired the movie "Sanctum"

The Movie "Sanctum" was mostly fiction, but the premise was based on fact. There was an actual diving party who were trapped in an underwater cave due to a storm blocking the entrance. It happened in 1988 at Pannikin Plains Cave. This lens explores some of the real facts and a little of the movie too.

The area the cave is in is an area of Australia called "Nullarbor" We'll take a look at some of the interesting facts about the area too.

Photo from "Sanctum"

Water from the Storm Cascaded Down this Erie PlugLike Entrance
Water from the Storm Cascaded Down this Erie PlugLike Entrance

Andrew Wight's Story

Of the Original Diving Team's experience in 1988

"Like Water Spiraling down an open plug hole" is the way Andrew Wight describes the water cascading down into the Pannikin Plain Cave when hit by a major storm with he and his crew inside. The cave they were exploring that day is part of a long and intricate system of caves beneath the Australian Desert area known as Nullarbor.

The collapsed entrance left those trapped (along with some help from those above) with the tedious task of finding another way out of the cave. They had a radio with them Ron Allum had built especially for communicating through the underground cave system. Their pre-arranged time to communicate via the radio came, and then is when they knew their team members below were alright. It was a frightening time, taking the team 6 grueling hours to make their way out of a still unstable system.

via National Geographic Blog

Pannikin Plain Cave and other Australian Dive sites - Featured in this book

Cocklebilly Cave - Near the Pannikin Plain Cave

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The true Nullarbor is the light tan semi-circular area adjacent to the coast

The true Nullarbor is the light tan semi-circular area adjacent to the coast
The true Nullarbor is the light tan semi-circular area adjacent to the coast

A Place Like No Other - Nullarbor Desert

Nullarbor Storm
Nullarbor Storm

Covering 77,000 Square Miles, the Nullarbor hosts the worlds largest single piece of limestone.

The area is thought to be an ancient sea bed.

Nullarbor Boot Tree - A Cultural Phenomenon

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The bush is in the middle of nothing along the Nullarbor Plain, and gradually, people passing by thought it would be fun to leave something.  It probably started as trash, but once it caught on, has become a fun thing to do... in an otherwise long anSame tree at night... something lovely about it, don't you think?
The bush is in the middle of nothing along the Nullarbor Plain, and gradually, people passing by thought it would be fun to leave something.  It probably started as trash, but once it caught on, has become a fun thing to do... in an otherwise long an
The bush is in the middle of nothing along the Nullarbor Plain, and gradually, people passing by thought it would be fun to leave something. It probably started as trash, but once it caught on, has become a fun thing to do... in an otherwise long an
Same tree at night... something lovely about it, don't you think?
Same tree at night... something lovely about it, don't you think?

Sanctum: The Movie - Trailer

Good Movie! The plot to the movie is much more complicated than the actual event. Plenty of twists and turns keep you on the edge of your seat!

Sanctum: The Movie

Cave of Swallows, Mexico - Where Sanctum was actually shot

Cave of Swallows, Mexico - Where Sanctum was actually shot
Cave of Swallows, Mexico - Where Sanctum was actually shot

Have you been to Nullarbor? - Or seen the movie "Sanctum"?

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    • timelapselove profile image

      timelapselove 

      6 years ago

      Interesting lens! There's a lot of caves out there yet to be discovered or explored.

    • DreamingBoomer profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Kay 

      7 years ago from Jackson, MS

      @moonlitta: Thanks so much for the blessing, Moonlitta! What an honor!

    • profile image

      moonlitta 

      7 years ago

      Seems really interesting place to see- and also loved to see the "hanging things" tree! Angel Blessed:)

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 

      7 years ago

      I love caves. It is a great adventure going to some caves. Never thought that the movie was based on fact. Sundae ;-)

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