The theory on the cause of the Daily Express plane crash has emerged 80 years later
A reporter, photographer, wireless operator and the pilot were killed instantly when the de Havilland DH 90 Dragonfly ploughed into Darnaw, one of the peaks in the Galloway Hills.
The accident, on February 2, 1937, occurred while the Express team were investigating potential new routes over the UK as the air travel industry started to develop.
Under the headline 'Air Disaster in Scotland', the tragedy was reported by Pathe News.
Black-and-white footage shows the mangled wreckage of the biplane surrounded by onlookers.
The reporter who perished was Major Harold James Pemberton, 47, son of novelist and biographer Sir Max Pemberton and great-grandson of Madame Marie Tussaud, of the waxworks fame.
Also killed were a 25-year-old photographer, Reginald Charles Wesley; the pilot, Leslie Thomas Jackson, 32; and wireless operator Archibald Francis Philpott, 36.
The accident occurred while the Express team were investigating potential new routes over the UK
The pilot possibly thought he was over a different stretch of water
At the time it was believed that either the plane had malfunctioned or the pilot had flown too low in fog and crashed into the hillside.
However, it is now thought that Mr Jackson mistakenly believed he was at a safe height over the Solway Firth when he was in fact over Clatteringshaws Loch – a newly filled reservoir not on any maps – and descended through cloud into Darnaw.
The wreckage and bodies of the crash victims were not found until two days later by a farm worker responding to a radio broadcast about a missing aircraft.
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Shepherd Andrew Wilson scrambled to Darnaw's 1,500ft summit and discovered the de Havilland's crumpled wings in the snow.
He made his way back down before cycling 16 miles to Creebridge in Wigtownshire to raise the alarm.
David Reid, the curator and chairman of Dumfries and Galloway aviation museum, who has studied reports of the tragedy, said: "Anyone who knows the Galloway Hills knows the weather can change rapidly in just a few miles.
The plane crash happened on February 2, 1937
"They wouldn't have had the navigational kit they have nowadays; it would be pretty seat-of-the-pants stuff and they were obviously just too low.
"The pilot possibly thought he was over a different stretch of water, perhaps even the Solway out to sea, where he would have been safe enough."
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Mr Reid added: "When the bodies were brought through Newton Stewart, everyone showed due respect.
"Everyone knew it had happened and it was quite a thing for a small town like that at the time."
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