Airplane Stories

Lost and Wrecked Airplanes News

  • 737 cargo plane found off Oahu

    Forward fuselage of the Transair Flight 810 Boeing 737-200 cargo jet which made an emergency water landing off the Hawaiian island of Oahu

    From John Konrad - GCaptain

    National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators have found the Boeing 737-200 cargo plane that made an emergency water landing in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii early this month.

    Sea Engineering provided ROV and Side Scan Sonar support for the survey of the debris of flight 810 approximately 2 miles offshore from the island of Oahu.

    Sea Engineering used the 43-ft Workboat, ‘Huki Pono’ for Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations in combination with a Chinook ROV, outfitted with GoPros, a high-definition video recording system, ultra-short-base wavelength transponder, and Hypack Navigation and DGPS to monitor and record the ROV position on the seafloor.

    Transair Flight 810 was found about 2 miles South Southeast of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The aft fuselage including both wings and tail along with both engines, and forward fuselage — were located at depths between 360 and 420 feet, the NTSB said in a statement.

    The plane components were initially located with a Side Scan Sonar and then the ROV was deployed. The NTSB said the wreckage is too deep to deploy divers for recovery of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders. On Monday the investigative team is developing plans to recover the aircraft.

    Full story...


  • Rediscovery of WWII bomber off Oahu

    WWII bomber off Oahu

    By Jim Mendoza - Hawaii News Now

    Crystal clear video shows new images of a World War II aircraft sitting on the ocean floor about three miles off Oahu’s Kaneohe coast. The Grumman TBF Avenger crashed after colliding with another military plane during a training flight in 1942.

    The documenting was done by Project Recover, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Delaware. "We were able to re-locate that site and document it," said Andrew Pietruszka, Project Recover's lead archaeologist.

    Scientists used sonar to zero in on the torpedo bomber at a depth of 300 feet, then used a camera on a submersible to survey the site. "Right through that camera lens, boom! Looks like you could almost take and fly it," Pietruszka said.

    Even after 77 years underwater the airplane’s wings, cockpit, tail section and engine are still visible.

    "This mission in particular was very special because it was on U.S. soil," Project Recover co-founder Eric Terrill said. The video and photographs will be used to build a three-dimensional model of the aircraft.

    "It's sitting upright as it would be on a carrier deck or on the runway," Pietruszka said. The Defense Department's POW/MIA Accounting Agency will decide whether recovery of remains is possible. The Avenger's three-man crew is listed as missing in action.

    Full story...



  • Lost plane Clint Eastwood crashed in 66 years ago

    Lost plane of Clint Eastwood

    By Daniel Terdiman - Fast Company

    On September 30, 1951, a Navy AD-1 Skyraider on its way from Seattle to Sacramento lost its escorts in the fog off the coast of Northern California.

    Low on fuel, the pilot had to ditch. He and his passenger survived impact, but the swim back to shore, off Point Reyes, was rough and they barely made it. But survive they did. And the modern history of American filmmaking is far richer because of it.

    The passenger who nearly drowned on that fall day in 1951 was a then-unknown army private named Clint Eastwood.

    For 66 years and change, that Skyraider has been lost in the ocean. Now, a team from a Berkeley, California, has set itself an ambitious goal: “We’re going to find that plane.”

    Today, National Geographic announced it has acquired Open Explorer, an online storytelling platform for explorers and scientists to document and share their projects.

    Open Explorer was originally launched by OpenROV, the Berkeley operation that has built a $1,500 underwater drone known as Trident that’s capable of performing tethered camera operations up to 100 meters from a small hub that sits on the surface.

    When OpenROV CEO and founder David Lang started Open Explorer in 2014, he meant the site as an answer to this question: “If Darwin were alive today, how would he have kept his notes?”

    With the relaunch of the site, National Geographic is highlighting the work being led by OpenROV lead electrical engineer Walt Holm, who since last August has been using Open Explorer to document the archival research he’s done to try to pinpoint the location of the Eastwood plane.

    Full story...



  • A long lost airplane that crashed during WWII

    Discovery: The long lost aeroplane was found in a shallow river on the archipelago of Palau

    By James Draper - Mail Online

    Holidaymakers can expect to witness numerous unexpected wonders when they explore the world.

    But tourists visiting the Micronesian archipelago of Palau discovered an unusually rare sight, re ently - after stumbling across a doomed WW2 plane.

    The long lost craft - believed to be a Japanese Aichi E13A long range reconnaissance seaplane - was found in a shallow river on the archipelago of Palau, which boasts 500 picturesque islands.

    An image of the remarkable relic, which surfaced on Imgur, shows the plane largely intact with the wings still attached to the fuselage. Eerily positioned upside-down, it's not clear which country the military craft belonged to, but the undisturbed site has now become something of a makeshift grave.

    And, clearly, it exerts a fascination with holidaymakers, two of whom can be seen canoeing past the plane's rusted body. Unsurprisingly, the image has stunned people across the internet, with one saying:, 'Looks like a movie set or the beginning or end of a novel.'

    Another added: 'If was the pilot that died with that plane, I'd be happy with my final resting spot. So beautiful and serene.' A third chimed-in: 'For me, it's the juxtaposition between the wreck and the person kayaking carefree right next to it.

    It seems disrespectful given that someone could have died in that wreck.' Aviation historian and seaplane pilot Paul Beaver told MailOnline Travel that the plane is Japanese.

    He said: 'It's an A13 floatplane. It is inverted and has lost its floats. This is a rare beast.'

    Full story...



  • A WWII bomber crashed off the Malta coast

    One of a handful of remaining operable Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers is seen in flight in 2012

    By Nick Wilson - The Tribune

    During World War II, a British warplane flying off the coast of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea had engine trouble and made an emergency ocean landing.

    Its pilot and co-pilot were rescued by two Englishmen on leave who happened to be sailing that day, but the plane sank. Seventy-four years later, in June, Cal Poly students who are part of an underwater search and mapping project helped find the missing plane.

    Their 6-foot robot, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), used sonar, photography and video technology in its search.

    “We’re confident that we found a plane that was documented to have crashed three miles off the coast of Malta,” said Zoe Wood, a Cal Poly computer science professor who has been co-leading the expedition with Harvey Mudd College engineering professor Christopher Clark.

    “It matches up with the record of the same type of plane going down about three miles off the coast near the city of Sliema.” They found the Fairey Swordfish at a depth of about 60 meters.

    The biplane torpedo bomber was used by England’s Royal Navy in World War II, as well as the 1930s.

    Nearly 2,400 Fairey Swordfish aircraft were built between 1936 and 1944 and sank more tonnage of enemy warcraft than any other Allied plane during World War II.

    Malta, a picturesque island located 50 miles south of Sicily, is a graveyard of ancient sunken vessels. There are nine surviving Swordfish. Just a handful can be flown.

    “We had a feeling of joy to have helped discover a site of a historically significant plane,” Wood said. Divers with the University of Malta marine archeology department have examined the historic aircraft, which has decayed to a skeleton and is now part of an ecosystem for baby fish and crustaceans.

    Given that, the plane will be left where it is.

    Full story...







  • Two WWII aircraft found under water

    The remains of one of the two US Air Force B-25 bombers missing since World War II.

    From NDTV

    Scientists have located two B-25 bombers - one of the most iconic aircraft of the Second World War - that went missing over 70 years ago in the waters off Papua New Guinea.

    During World War II, some 10,000 B-25 bombers were deployed to conduct a variety of missions such as bombing, submarine patrols, and even the historic raid over Tokyo in April 1942.

    Present-day Papua New Guinea was the site of military action in the Pacific Ocean from January 1942 to the end of the war in August 1945, with significant losses of aircraft and soldiers, some of whom have never been found.

    Project Recover, consisting of a team of scientists from University of California, San Diego, and University of Delaware, along with members of the non-profit organisation BentProp in the US, combined efforts to locate aircraft and associated missing items from World War II.

    In February, the team set out on a mission to map the seafloor in search of missing aircraft, conduct an official archaeological survey of a known B-25 underwater wreck, and interview elders in villages in the immediate area.

    In its search of nearly 10 square kilometres, the team located the debris field of a B-25 bomber that had been missing for over 70 years, associated with a crew of six.

    "People have this mental image of an airplane resting intact on the sea floor, but the reality is that most planes were often already damaged before crashing, or broke up upon impact," said Katy O'Connell, Executive Director at Project Recover.

    Full story...



  • WWII fighter plane is pulled from the Kerch Strait

    A World War II fighter aircraft was dredged up from the bottom of the Kerch Strait between Crimea and mainland Russia on Saturday

    From Daily Mail

    A World War II fighter aircraft was dredged up from the bottom of the Kerch Strait between Crimea and mainland Russia on Saturday.

    The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighter aircraft, leased from the US to the Soviet Red Army, spent about 70 years underwater until divers spotted it nearly four miles from the coast.

    The divers were searching the waters for mines and bombs with the $3.2 billion construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge - a project Russian President Vladimir Putin as called a 'historic mission'.

    The Kremlin sees the bridge, which will span the Kerch Strait, as vital to integrating Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014. On Saturday, a crane borrowed from the bridge's construction lifted the decayed plane, which may be incorporated into a future exhibition by a historical reconstruction group, RT reported.

    The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was constructed by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation's main production facilities in Buffalo, New York, before the planes were widely used among the Allied powers in WWII.

    Full story...



  • WWII planes from the bottom of Lake Michigan

    Restored World War II plane recovered from Lake Michigan

    By Caroline Torie - WSBT

    On this Veterans Day, we remember an important part of World War II history that took place on the waters of Lake Michigan.

    The U.S. Navy used the lake to train thousands of pilots heading to fight in the Pacific. Pilots learned how to take off and land on makeshift aircraft carriers. When Pearl Harbor was attacked - the U.S. Navy was not prepared to wage a large-scale war.

    The U.S. had to ramp up airplane production and train pilots to fly them. Lake Michigan proved to be a great spot for this naval aircraft training. It was protected from enemy fire because it's insulated by U.S. and Canadian territory.

    17,000 pilots became certified naval aviators over the lake. About 130 aircraft were lost to the depths of the lake, and 10 pilots lost their lives there between March 1942 and September 1945.

    Close to 50 of those have since been recovered. Many of those efforts are thanks to A & T Recovery, a company that works to rescue these forgotten aircraft. "It was a dangerous operation – especially having to do it all year long. And they had to, because the war didn't stop.," says Taras Lyssenko, A&T Recovery General Manager.

    Decades after the last plane dove into the lake, A & T Recovery seeks to bring them back out to see the light of day. They use a side-scan sonar to find the aircraft underwater. It's similar to an ultrasound. Lyssenko says, "It uses a sound wave, and it listens for an echo return, and draws an image of it."

    The process of recovering and restoring the planes is a long process. Three of recovered planes are currently at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo. One is fully restored, while two are undergoing restoration.

    Full story...







  • The relics of war

    These are the remains of a B-25 Mitchell bomber which has been dumped at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean

    By Darren Boyle - Mail Online

    These haunting images show forgotten US planes from the Second World War lying on the ocean floor.

    The pictures reveal how marine life has taken over these once deadly weapons. One image even shows how schools of fish have been making themselves at home inside a rusted cockpit. American photographer and scuba instructor Brandi Mueller, 32, captured the images when diving off of the coast of Roi-Namur, Marshall Islands.

    The wrecked planes include the B-25 Mitchell bomber and a Curtiss C-46 aircraft. he said: 'Diving these wrecks feels like going back in time. I want to show what the wrecks have become. 'They have been underwater for over 70 years now and are beginning to deteriorate, so it sort of feels like I’m documenting them as they change.

    'Eventually there won't be anything left of them.' The Marshall Islands were the setting for the Battle of Kwajalein when the United States launched an attack against the Japanese.

    The island was the first of the Japanese islands to be successfully captured by the US. The battle took place between January 31 and February 3, 1944.

    However, many of the planes that remain were mysteriously dumped by the US government after hostilities with the Japanese ceased.

    Full story...




  • Sunken American WWII torpedo bomber

    The BentProp Project

    From Fox News

    In July of 1944, an American warplane, a TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bomber, went down in the Pacific.

    Now, 72 years later, the Navy plane has been identified near Palau, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego has announced.

    Eric Terrill, an oceanographer at Scripps, explained that the remains of the aircraft are resting under 85 feet of water within a lagoon. It wasn't until his team dove the wreck this April and May that they identified it as the Avenger they had been looking for.

    “The plane had a number of Japanese targets that it was focused on in World War II, and was hit by anti-aircraft fire, and then crashed within the lagoon a few miles overshore from the target that it was going after," Terrill told

    Avengers, which took off and landed from aircraft carriers, had a crew of three.

    "We’re hopeful that this will eventually lead to the recovery of three MIA," Terrill added, pointing out that a report stated that one person had parachuted out before the crash.

    "This particular aircraft had a lot of fire-damage associated with it, which is consistent with the after-action report," Terrill added. He said it's the U.S. government's purview at this point to identify the individuals associated with the plane, and that his team had given a report to the government.

    Full story...







  • B-17 Flying Fortress bomber found on seabed off Sicily

    A B-17F plane similar to the one found on the seabed off Sicily

    By Nick Squires - The Telegraph

    The wreck of a Flying Fortress bomber shot down by Messerschmitt fighters during the Second World War has been found lying on the seabed off the coast of Sicily.

    The B-17, nicknamed Devils from Hell by its nine-man crew, was discovered by divers at a depth of 245ft (75 metres), around four miles from the port of Palermo in southern Italy.

    The discovery was the result of months of detective work, with historians and amateur divers matching official wartime records with the accounts of elderly Sicilians who still remember the raid.

    The aircraft was located by a group of amateur divers who are part of a project called “Shadows of the Deep”, which aims to locate the wrecks of planes and boats off Sicily.

    Described by one Italian newspaper as the “Indiana Jones’s of the sea”, they were helped by a sonar scan carried out by a diving unit of the Italian fire brigade.

    “The wreck was found a few months ago thanks to the help of the fire service. Our job was to dive down and try to identify it,” said Riccardo Cingillo, one of the divers.

    It took several attempts – when they first dived down to the wreck, visibility was poor. Eventually they were able to find and photograph serial numbers on the engines and in the cockpit which enabled a positive identification.

    Full story...







  • Lake Mead to allow dives to wreckage of WWII bomber

    B29 superfortress

    By Henry Brean - Review Journal

    As early as this summer, divers could once again have the chance to explore the wreckage of a World War II-era bomber at the bottom of Lake Mead.

    The National Park Service announced Thursday it will accept bids from dive companies interested in taking people on guided tours of the 66-year-old B-29 wreckage, which has been closed to divers since 2009.

    Record low water levels have brought the sunken Superfortress within reach of recreational divers for the first time ever, and the aircraft will only get easier to reach as the reservoir continues to shrink.

    According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the B-29 was one of the last built and was delivered to the U.S. Army eleven days after the end of World War II.

    Stripped of armaments, it became a post-war reconnaissance plane used in an upper atmospheric research program based at Muroc Army Airfield in California.

    “Part of this research was focused on the development of a device that used the sun as a point of reference to guide missiles as they arched from the United States towards the Soviet Union,” NOAA said.

    On July 21, 1948, the plane was being flown on a mission to test a secret missile guidance system. While descending over the smooth-as-glass lake, the pilot lost depth perception and flew the bomber into the water at 230 mph. It skipped once, settled onto the surface and sank.

    All five crew members survived, but the bomber was lost until August 2001, when a team of local divers discovered it sitting upright and mostly intact on the lake bottom.

    In 2003, archaeologists from the Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center mapped and documented the wreck. Five years later, the Park Service awarded one-year permits to two companies — one from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and the other from Ventura, Calif. — for guided technical dives at the site, then at a depth of roughly 160 feet.

    Technical dives exceed 130 feet in depth and require more training and equipment than more common and less hazardous recreational scuba dives at lesser depths.

    Christie Vanover, spokeswoman for the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, said those first two permits were not renewed in 2009 because the companies struggled to turn a profit under the restrictions placed on them.

    The Park Service is now offering what it hopes is a more enticing deal: a two-year, commercial-use permit allowing up to 100 divers a year at the B-29 wreck and unlimited scuba instruction and charter dives to other “submerged resources” in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

    Vanover said the Park Service hopes to issue two of the permits by April and see visits to the B-29 resume by summer.

    “We have had people express an interest over the years. We think this is the best option, and it provides a business opportunity,” she said. “We hope to see multiple applications.”

    The wreckage now rests under roughly 110 feet of water in the Overton Arm, at the northern end of the lake. The Park Service won’t give the precise location or depth because the site is considered a “protected resource.”

    Full article...

  • Explorers find 1952 US plane wreck in Lake Ontario

    From Independent Records


    The wreck of a U.S. Air Force twin-engine plane that crashed into eastern Lake Ontario more than 60 years ago has been found in deep water off Oswego, a team of underwater explorers said Tuesday.

    The Beach Aircraft C-45 flew for miles on its own after its three-man crew and two civilian passengers bailed out when one of the engines failed during a flight over central New York in 1952.

    The aircraft flew on automatic pilot for more than an hour before it crashed into the lake several miles northwest of Oswego, on the lake's southern shore 35 miles north of Syracuse.

    A trio of explorers from the Rochester area said they located the nearly intact plane in more than 150 feet of water while searching for historic shipwrecks on the lake's eastern end on June 27.

    One of the searchers, Jim Kennard, said the C-45 was on a routine flight on Sept. 11, 1952, from Bedford, Massachusetts, to Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York, when the left engine began failing about 50 miles from its destination.

    As the plane started to lose altitude, the pilot believed it would soon crash and ordered the other two Air Force officers on board and the two civilians to parachute from the aircraft at 2,500 feet.



  • Perfectly preserved Nazi plane found 70 years after

    WWII German plane

    From Nigerian Tribune

    The Luftwaffe plane was found at the bottom of the Black Sea by a team of divers nearly 70 years after it vanished mid-flight.

    The fate of the aircraft and its nine crew members had remained a mystery since it was reported missing in 1942.

    Underwater photographer Andrey Nekrasov, 42, was part of the team which found the wreckage 23 metres beneath the surface off the Ukrainian coast, near Odessa.

    The divers made the discovery while searching for a different plane.

    Instead of finding the JU 88 they were expecting, they found a JU 52 ‘Iron Annie’, a type used extensively as a transporter aircraft by the Luftwaffe during the war.

    Since the discovery, researchers have attempted to piece together the fate of the plane and its crew.

    Mr Nekrasov said: ‘There were no records of a crashed plane of this type in this area.

    ‘The wreckage was very deep down so visibility was poor. We could only see three metres in front of us at any time.

    ‘A plane on the seabed always looks very strange. It turned out the story behind this one was even stranger.’

    Using these items, Mr Nekrasov and his team determined the wreck was a transport flight carrying nine passengers which had been reported missing in early 1942, at a time when the Soviet Army had been on the offensive on the Eastern Front.

    Mr Nekrasov said: ‘We have tried to recreate the whole picture of the events using just a couple of artefacts which were 70 years old and found at the bottom of the sea.’

    Records from the time showed that the plane was carrying a flight engineer called Johann Wichert - the owner of the thermos and belt. 
    A signaller called Karl Kroch was also on board, returning to the Russian front after a period of leave

    Also aboard was an observer, Oberstleutnant Baron Axel Freiherr von Jena, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War and a possible owner of the cap. 
    Flight records found inside the cockpit reveal the JU 52 was en-route to Nikolaev in Ukraine, having flown from Romania.

    Full story...

  • Monster sea-plane dragged from the deep

    The craft was treasured by the RAF's commanders and Winston Churchill as the only planes that could fly long-haul.  Read more:  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    By Mia De Graaf - DailyMail

    It was the most treasured craft in Britain's possession when the Nazis declared war, but all of the Mk I Sunderland sea planes were thought to be long-lost after being gunned down in WWII.

    The nation's only long-haul vessel, the 40 Sunderland flying boats were dispatched over the Atlantic Ocean and Germany to keep advancing submarines at bay.

    But decades on, in 2000, one of the prized crafts has been found wrapped in coral 65ft below the coast of Wales in what historians are touting as one of the most important discoveries this century.

    And though it is in bits, the thick coating of mud and barnacles have preserved the Sunderland's structure perfectly.

    Now, 73 years since it sank in 1940, naval historians are on the cusp of finally piecing the unique vessel back together in a project worth half a million pounds.

    A deep sea diver accidentally discovered the wreckage after seeing a lobster-pot had become snagged on something below the waves 13 years ago.

    The diver followed the rope down to the seabed and came across the world’s only surviving Mark I Sunderland flying-boat.

    Experts identified the craft as Sunderland T9044 of No 210 Squadron, RAF.

    To confirm the identity, they tracked down the bomber's last pilot: 93-year-old Wing Commander Derek Martin OBE.

    Martin was aged 20 in 1940, training young aircrews, when he flew the Sunderland out of Pembroke Dock, in West Wales, the day before it sank.

    He said: 'I flew it on a routine flight around the dock and then moored it up.

    'There was a gale during the night and it must have been holed by some floating debris and down it went.

    'In the morning it wasn’t there. Well, it was at the bottom of the sea.'

    Sunderland flying-boats flew out of Pembroke Dock during the Battle of the Atlantic - when they were used to attack German U-boats sinking vital supply ships.

    Full story...

  • Amelia Earhart plane search to resume next year

    The search for Amelia Earhart's long-lost aircraft

    By Rossella Lorenzi - News Discovery

    The search for Amelia Earhart's long-lost aircraft will resume next year in the waters off Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati where the legendary pilot may have died as a castaway.

    Starting about the middle of August 2014, the 30-day expedition will be carried out by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 76 years ago.

    Called Niku VIII, the new expedition is expected to cost as much as $3 million. It will rely on two Hawaiian Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) manned submersibles, Pisces IV and Pisces V, each carrying a pilot and two TIGHAR observers.

    “The plan for Niku VIII is built on the hard data gathered and the hard lessons learned during the previous expeditions carried out in 2010 and 2012,” Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, said in a statement.

    Equipped with high definition video, still cameras, mechanical arms and recovery baskets, the subs will search a mile-long underwater area down to a depth of more than 3000 feet.

    “Live searching by three people aboard each sub looking at wide vistas illuminated by powerful lights is far superior to searching by looking remotely via the toilet-paper tube view provided by a video camera on an ROV,” Gillespie said.

    The tall, slender, blond pilot mysteriously vanished while flying over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, during a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

    Full article...

  • Amelia Earhart plane discovery

    Amelia Earhart

    By Ben Neary - Huffington Post

    A Delaware aircraft preservation group denies a Wyoming man's claim that it found pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart's missing plane in 2010 but sat on the news so it could solicit him to pay for a later search.

    Mystery has surrounded Earhart's fate since her plane disappeared in 1937 in the South Pacific.

    Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932, but many experts believe she crashed into the Pacific a few years later while trying to establish a record as the first woman to fly around the world.

    Timothy Mellon, son of the late philanthropist Paul Mellon, filed a federal lawsuit in Wyoming last week against The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery and Richard E. Gillespie, the group's executive director.

    Mellon, who lives in Riverside, Wyo., claims the group solicited $1 million from him last year without telling him it had found Earhart's plane in its underwater search two years earlier.

    Mellon's lawsuit says the 2010 search in the waters around the Kiribati atoll of Nikumaroro, about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii, captured underwater images of the "wreckage of the Lockheed Electra flown by Amelia Earhart when she disappeared in 1937."

    The suit claims the aircraft recovery group intentionally misrepresented the status of its exploration to Mellon last year, telling him a discovery of Earhart's plane was yet possible if he supported the search.

    The lawsuit states Mellon contributed stock worth more than $1 million to the 2012 search and accuses the organization of engaging in a pattern of racketeering to defraud him.

    Full article...

  • German WWII bomber raised from English Channel

    German WWII bomber recovered

    From Huffington Post

    A British museum on Monday successfully recovered a German bomber that had been shot down over the English Channel during World War II.

    The aircraft, nicknamed the Luftwaffe's "flying pencil" because of its narrow fuselage, came down off the coast of Kent county in southeastern England more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain.

    The rusty and damaged plane was lifted from depths of the channel with cables and is believed to be the most intact example of the German Dornier Do 17 bomber that has ever been found.

    "It has been lifted and is now safely on the barge and in one piece," said RAF Museum spokesman Ajay Srivastava.

    The bomber will be towed into port Tuesday, he added.

    A few fragments of the plane dropped off as it was being lifted, but officials said divers will retrieve them later.

    Full story...

  • Work on salvaging the only remaining German WW II bomber begins

    From India Today

    Work to salvage the sole surviving German Dornier Do-17 bomber plane flown in the Battle of Britain in World War Two began on Friday, more than 70 years after it crashed into the English Channel.

    Project managers said the plane, lying 16 metres (52 feet) deep, remains in surprisingly good condition and will be raised using a purpose-built cradle later this month in the biggest recovery of its kind in British waters.

    It was first noticed when a fisherman caught his net in the aircraft almost 10 years ago and it was identified as a bomber by divers in 2008.

    The plane will be packed in gel and plastic sheeting to shield it from the air before it can be transported to hydration tunnels where the crust created by 70 years underwater will be washed away over the next two years.

    Eventually, the bomber will be exhibited in the Royal Air Force Museum in London, the city Adolf Hitler had hoped to bring to its knees, said Peter Dye, the director general of the museum, which is leading the project.

    These aircraft were nicknamed the Luftwaffe's "flying pencil" bombers because of their narrow fuselage.

    Research by the museum showed the plane was shot down on August 26, 1940 during a series of air attacks by the Germans known as the Battle of Britain, the first major campaign fought entirely by air forces.

    "Britain remained a focus of defiance when all seemed lost," said Peter Devitt, historian and curator at the RAF museum.

    "It won this extraordinary, very narrow victory at the Battle of Britain and from there could be used as a springboard to defeat the German forces and liberate Europe."

    Full story...

  • Divers piece together WWII lakes mystery

    From In Cumbria

    On a January night in 1945 a Royal Navy Grumman Avenger crashed into a scree slope, known as Great Gully, high above Wastwater which lies at the foot of Scafell.

    Now divers from the Keighley branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) are trying to find out more information about the crash.

    In particular they would like to know more about the three airmen who died instantly when their plane flew directly into the scree slope while they were participating in a night-time navigational exercise.

    IT manager and Keighley Sub Aqua Club member, Graham Clay, says the hunt for information about the crash, and in particular the three airmen who lost their lives, has become an obsession so far as club members are concerned.

    He said: “As a club we were diving in Wastwater earlier this year and came across the Grumman Avenger’s engine block in only about six metres of water. We also believe the tail section is in one piece and is also in Wastwater, although we are yet to locate it.

    “Apparently you can still find small pieces of aluminum and other debris from the crash on the scree slope above Wastwater, although Great Gully is difficult and very dangerous to access.

    I think the engine block and tail section, being heavy, slid down the scree and basically dropped into the lake. However, we suspect much more of the wreckage lies in Wastwater and is just waiting to be found.”

    But Mr Clay says what club members really want to find out is more information on the three crew members who died.

    He said: “There seems to be very little known about them. We have trawled the internet and what records we can but there is scant information out there.

    Full article...

  • Phoenix International Recovers U.S. Air Force F-16

    F16 recovery

    From Hydro International

    Underwater survey company Phoenix International, based in the USA, has successfully completed an underwater search and recovery of a U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft from over 16,400 feet of sea water (fsw).

    Underwater search operations commenced using the Navy’s 20,000fsw depth search system, ORION.

    After searching the initial planned search area spanning a 2 x 4 nautical mile (nm) area, search operations shifted to another high-probability area and the suspected F-16 debris field was quickly identified.

    In early August 2012, at the direction of the Naval Sea Systems Command’s Director of Ocean Engineering, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV), Phoenix mobilised the Navy’s ORION deepwater side scan sonar system, the CURV 21 remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and the Navy’s motion compensated, 30,000 pound Fly-Away Deep Ocean Salvage System (FADOSS).

    All equipment was transported over land from Phoenix’s facility in Largo, Maryland, to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. From there, military transport aircraft moved the equipment to Hawaii, where the gear was loaded aboard USNS Navajo (T-ATF 169).

    Full article...

  • Naval aviator returns to underwater site of 1974 crash

    Bob Besal on the USS America in 1974 in the North Atlantic when he was a Lieutenant. Besal was piloting a Vought A-7C on a training mission when his aircraft collided with another plane at 15,000 feet, sending his jet into the Atlantic.

    By Jim Barnett - CNN

    Bob Besal went on a fishing trip this month off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida.

    The 62-year-old retired rear admiral, who earned two Distinguished Flying Cross awards and spent a lifetime on the water and above it, didn't catch any fish, but he did return with some memorable souvenirs.

    Twenty miles from shore and 80 feet under the Atlantic, parts of Besal's past were brought to the surface.

    Nearly 38 years ago, the naval aviator made a critical decision that almost cost him his life and ultimately defined it.

    Besal and three other pilots were simulating bombing runs on a training mission when his Vought A-7 Corsair clipped the plane next to him. Besal ejected at a speed close to 350 mph.

    "It's not one of those things you brag about, honestly," laughed Besal. "I didn't cover myself in glory on December 2, 1974. So it's one of those things if people asked I would tell them, but I didn't try to advertise it as such."

    Pilot who survived midair collision decades ago learns wreckage found

    The wreckage of Besal's plane was found last month by a team of divers from TISIRI (Think It Sink It Reef It), a Jacksonsville-based marine conservation company that specializes, among other things, in building artificial reefs.

    A data plate picked up off the ocean floor was traced back to Besal, who now teaches aviation maintenance technology in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Joe Kistel, executive director of TISIRI, asked Besal if he would like to return to the wreckage site, an invitation Besal eagerly accepted.

    Just after dawn on a recent Saturday morning, Besal joined a crew for a 90-minute ride to the wreckage site.

    Little did he know that the decades-old ruins had become part of a productive ecosystem.

    Full article...

  • Massive Luftwaffe plane wreck 'found off Sardinian coast'

    By Nick Squires - The Telegraph


    It is believed to be the only surviving example of the Messerschmitt 323 "Giant", a massive aircraft that was designed to carry tanks, half-tracks and artillery into battle.

    The Germans initially intended to use the plane in the planned invasion of Britain, Operation Sea Lion, but it was cancelled and the aircraft instead saw action in other theatres such as North Africa and the Mediterranean.

    The Me-323 was on its way from a German base in Sardinia to the city of Pistoia in Tuscany when it was shot down by a Bristol Beaufighter long-range fighter plane on July 26, 1943.

    It crashed into the sea off the Maddalena islands, an idyllic archipelago of low islands and sandy beaches that is popular with sailors and holidaymakers.

    A small team led by Cristina Freghieri, a diver and amateur historian, claims to have discovered the wreck at a depth of 200ft.

    They spent a year trawling military archives, flight path records and local eyewitness accounts in their hunt for the unusual relic.

    "It was just by chance that we found it because we were actually looking for a different plane wreck," Aldo Ferrucci, a diving instructor and photographer who took pictures of the wreck, told The Daily Telegraph.

    "We had understood that the Me-323 was in a totally different location so we were lucky to stumble on it. It is in good condition – it is almost intact, with the six engines still all in line.”

    The wreck, located eight nautical miles off the coast, was identified with a wire-guided camera and then explored by divers.

    "It was a pure emotional charge to suddenly see the aircraft in the veiled blue of the sea. First we saw a piece of sheet metal, then another until the plane appeared in all its beauty.

    My heart skipped a beat," Ms Freghieri told Ansa, an Italian news agency.

    The Me-323, known in German as the "Gigant", weighed 45 tons, had six engines and boasted a wingspan of 180ft.


  • Bob Besal's jet found in Atlantic 37 years after navy pilot survived crash

    Bob Besal

    By Ron Dicker - The Huffington Post

    Ex-Navy pilot Bob Besal survived a mid-air jet collision in 1974 and later became a decorated war hero.

    Last week, the 62-year-old discovered that the plane from which he ejected had a happy ending, too -- as a reef at the bottom of the Atlantic.

    "That's absolutely remarkable," Besal told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. "It certainly shows the resilience of the ocean after having something like that burst into the middle of it."

    Think It Sink It Reef It (TISIRI), a marine conservation company in Jacksonville, Fla., discovered the wreckage of Besal's Vought A-7C light attack plane last month, 20 miles east of St. Augustine, Fla.

    TISIRI was able to link a data plate that Executive Director Joe Kistel unearthed on one of the dives to Besal's downed plane. When Kistel contacted Besal last week, the retired pilot confirmed it was a match for his jet.

    Kistel told The Huffington Post that he was happy to report to Besal that the sunken plane, 80 feet below the surface, had generated a reef with a thriving eco system.

    "He was surprised to say the least," Kistel said.

    Besal doesn't dive, so Kistel said he'll probably invite Besal to go fishing over the crash site. Besal said he'll gladly accept.

    "That will be a pretty cool conclusion, a good ending to the accident he had," Kistel said.

    Full story...

  • Underwater search for Amelia Earhart’s plane

    Search for Amelia Earhart’s Plane

    From Hydro International 

    In early July 2012, on the 75th anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan, members of Phoenix International Holdings, USA, set sail from Hawaii in support of a search effort led by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).

    The target of the search was Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft.

    After years of research, TIGHAR theorised that the plane went down near the island of Nikumaroro, an atoll roughly 1,900 miles southwest of Hawaii.

    Phoenix’s role was to search one square mile of the seabed from 50 to 4,000 feet off the northwest side of the island.

    To conduct the underwater search, Phoenix deployed its new BlueFin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and a leased Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from Submersible Systems.

    The underwater search team consisted of five Phoenix AUV operators / ROV technicians, two BlueFin AUV technicians, and two SSI ROV technicians.

    After a nine-day transit aboard the research vessel Ka`imikai-o-Kanaloa (K-O-K), the team arrived at Nikumaroro and commenced undersea search operations.

    Full story...

  • Divers discover planes on ocean floor off St. Augstine's coast

    Plane discovered

    By Jessica Clark - First Coast News

    Joe Kistel, a diver on the First Coast, has stumbled onto a mystery. Kistel is the executive director of TISIRI, and his crews dive and map artificial reefs.

    A couple weeks ago, about 20 miles off the coast of St. Augustine, they found some metal objects in a sandy area of the ocean floor.

    One metal object led to another. The last one confirmed what they were thinking.

    "We knew exactly what it was. We could see a bent propeller and an engine," Kistel recalled.

    Low on oxygen in their tanks, he and his crew snapped some pictures and went back to the boat.

    Since then, Kistel and his team have researched the name of the engine and the planes which have them. He prepared another dive for this past weekend, aiming to find a serial number.

    "It will probably let us identify that plane," Kistel explained. 

    This weekend brought them another underwater surprise.

    Full story...

  • F-16 fighter jet splash down in Pacific near Kurils

    Lost F-16

    From RT

    An American F-16 fighter jet went down in a Russian exclusive economic zone near the Kuril Islands on Sunday.

    The pilot successfully ejected before the jet plummeted into the waters below.

    “The Kamchatsky territorial naval rescue center reported at 8:30 am local time (8:30 pm GMT) that an aircraft was in distress over the Pacific Ocean near the northern Kurils,” Andrey Orlov, a spokesman for the Russian Border Guard Service in the Far East said.

    Later on it turned out to be an American F-16.

    The Russian Antias border patrol vessel and an An-72 patrol aircraft were dispatched to the crash zone, though the pilot was ultimately picked up by the Japanese the Hokko Maru fishery research vessel about five hours after the crash.

    Orlov says the fighter jet sank almost immediately after the crash.

    The Antias patrol vessel that arrived at the scene has not found even a petrol spot on the surface of the ocean, so the crash site poses no threat to ecology, the Russian border guard reported.

    Full story...

  • Robots join hunt for wreckage of Amelia Earhart's plane

    Amelia Earhart was flying a Lockheed Electra airplane when she disappeared in 1937

    By Jeremy Hsu - Today MSNBC

    U.S. Navy warships and aircraft failed to find Amelia Earhart when the pioneering female aviator vanished in the South Pacific during her second attempt to fly around the world in 1937.

    This summer, aviation archaeologists have enlisted the help of underwater robots to find the wreckage of Earhart's aircraft.

    The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (or TIGHAR) suspects that Earhart's Lockheed Electra landed on a reef of the uninhabited coral atoll formerly known as Gardner Island and stayed there for several days before waves washed the aircraft over the reef's edge — perhaps enough time for the aviator and her navigator to have sent out radio distress calls.

    The expedition plans to deploy ship sonar and two robot submersibles to search the slope of the underwater reef for any aircraft parts.

    "We will not be recovering anything on this trip," said Richard Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR. "The objective is to get imagery and photographs of what's there."

    The expedition is scheduled to set out aboard the Hawaiian research vessel "Ka'Imikai-o-Kanaloa" from Honolulu on July 2 — the 75th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance.

    Its underwater robots are capable of searching with sonar and taking black-and-white photos down to a depth of almost 5,000 feet (1,500 meters), as well as checking out sonar targets with high-definition video down to a depth of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters).

    Full story...

  • WWII plane wreck not Stuka, but larger JU88

    In this picture taken June 14, 2012 a German soldier watches the salvage of a big part of the fuselage of a WWII nazi plane at Sassnitz, Baltic Sea, eastern Germany. 
    Photo Jens Koehler

    By David Rising - Yahoo News

    It looked like a Stuka, partly buried in the muck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, but researchers now say the wreck German military divers have been recovering for the past week is a totally different — though nearly as rare — World War II aircraft.

    German Military Historical Museum spokesman Capt. Sebastian Bangert said Friday that enough of the plane has now been recovered to make clear it is not a single-engined JU87 Stuka divebomber, but a twin-engine JU88 aircraft.

    The two Junkers planes shared several parts — including the engines on many models — and from the way it sat in the seabed Bangert says it appeared to have been a JU87.

    But now that a wing section is up, it's clearly the larger JU88, he said, talking from the deck of the German Navy ship being used in the recovery.

    Instead of looking at the partially-buried whole wing and the engine on the front of a JU87, it was clear they had been looking at the tip of a JU88 wing and the engine that once hung underneath it, he said.

    "It looked just like the Stuka in the underwater pictures — everything that we had brought up had been pieces that were used in the JU87 — so there was no reason to doubt it," he said.
    "But this find is perhaps historically even more important."

    Perhaps more importantly, the divers have also found human remains, including a partial skull, which they hope to be able to identify.

    Full story...

  • WWII bomber being recovered from Baltic Sea floor

    From AP


    German military divers are working to hoist the wreck of a Stuka dive bomber from the floor of the Baltic Sea, a rare example of the plane that once wreaked havoc over Europe as part of the Nazis' war machine.

    The single-engine monoplane carried sirens that produced a distinctive and terrifying screaming sound as it dove vertically to release its bombs or strafe targets with its machine guns. There are only two complete Stukas still around.

    The Stuka wreck, first discovered in the 1990s when a fisherman's nets snagged on it, lies about 10 km off the coast of the German Baltic island of Ruegen, in about 18 metres (60 feet) of water.

    The divers have been working over the past week to prepare the bomber to be hoisted to the surface, using fire hoses to carefully free it from the sand.

    They have already brought up smaller pieces and also hauled up its motor over the weekend.

    They are now working to free the main 9-metre (30-foot) fuselage piece and expect to bring it up on Tuesday, depending on the weather, said Capt. Sebastian Bangert, a spokesman from the German Military Historical Museum in Dresden, which is running the recovery operation.

    Initial reports are that it is in good condition despite having spent the last seven decades at the bottom of the sea, he said.

    "From my perspective there's a lot of damage — it's been under water for 70 years — but our restoration crew says it's in really good condition for being restored," said Bangert, speaking from the deck of the Navy ship being used for the operation. "That's our goal — a complete restoration and not conservation as a wreck."



  • Earhart's anti-freckle cream jar possibly found

    By Rossella Lorenzi - Discovery News

    A small cosmetic jar offers more circumstantial evidence that the legendary aviator, Amelia Earhart, died on an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati.

    Found broken in five pieces, the ointment pot was collected on Nikumaroro Island by researchers of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 75 years ago.

    When reassembled,‭ the glass fragments ‬make up a nearly complete jar identical in shape to the ones used by Dr.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬H Berry's Freckle Ointment. The ointment was marketed in the early‭ ‬20th century as a concoction guaranteed to make freckles fade.

    "It's well documented Amelia had freckles and disliked having them," Joe Cerniglia, the TIGHAR researcher who spotted the freckle ointment as a possible match, told Discovery News.

    The jar fragments were found together with other artifacts during TIGHAR's nine archaeological expeditions to the tiny coral atoll believed to be Earhart's final resting place.

    Analysis of the recovered artifacts will be presented at a three-day conference in Arlington, Va. A new study of post loss radio signals and the latest forensic analysis of a photograph believed to show the landing gear of Earhart's aircraft on Nikumaroro reef three months after her disappearance, will be also discussed.

    Beginning on June 1st, the symposium will highlight TIGHAR's high-tech search next July to find pieces of Earhart's Lockheed Electra aircraft.

    The pilot mysteriously vanished while flying over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937 during a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

    The general consensus has been that Earhart's twin-engined plane ran out of fuel and crashed in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere near Howland Island.

  • U.S. Navy exploring Curtiss SB2C Helldiver WWII wreckage

    By Evan Axelbank - WPTV


    Divers from the United States Navy have set up shop off the coast of Jupiter.

    They're exploring a plane wreck from World War II discovered by local diver Randy Jordan.

    "I really feel like, finally, we're going to find out who belonged to that airplane and if somebody is in it," Jordan said.

    He stumbled upon the wreckage of a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver in December. Instructed to not touch the tiny two-seater, all he could do was wonder. "I was starting to lose hope we were going to find out too much about it. It's in 185 feet of water," Jordan said.

    But two weeks ago, the Navy called to say they'd be coming with a team of divers and with archeologist Heather Brown.

    "We're here to preserve the history and heritage of the Navy. This is one of the planes that helped fight World War II," Brown said. Brown suspects that the plane was part of the many training missions conducted near South Florida.

    But to find out for certain -- and whether anyone went down with the plane -- is to find the plane's records. Divers unscrewed this corroded data plate from the plane's tail Thursday.


  • Heinkel HE-219 found in Denmark

    A rare World War II German night-fighter has been recovered in Denmark 
    Photo Danmarks Flyvehistoriske Selskab

    From Politiken

    Danish divers and the Aviation History Society (DFS) of Denmark have recovered a rare World War II German night-fighter off the northern Jutland peninsula and are to restore the aircraft.

    The only known other full example of the aircraft is said to be in the United States, where it was taken following the war after it and two other of the aircraft were confiscated by US Army Intelligence Service from the Grove Air Force Base in Jutland, Denmark.

    One of the more advanced aircraft to be built during WWII, it was the first military aircraft in the world to be equipped with ejection seats and was equipped with an effective VHF intercept radar designed to seek out and attack allied bombers.

    It is also said to be one of the first operational aircraft with cockpit pressurisation.

    Found in the Tannis Bay between Hirtshals and Skagen in Denmark, the plane’s tricycle landing gear gave it away.

    “Landing gear is just like a fingerprint on humans, but I found it difficult to believe that we had such a rare aircraft in Denmark,” says DFS Chairman and aircraft archaeologist Ib Lødsen adding the recovery was like waiting for a Christmas present.

    “It was so exciting. You never know whether you’re going to get what you want. I was a little disappointed,” he adds, saying that wires to the aircraft’s instruments had been cut, suggesting that someone had tampered with the aircraft previously.

    The only parts of the aircraft that remain to be found are one of its two engines and part of the tail, which probably included the aircraft number, which in turn would help determine why the aircraft ended up in Tannis Bay.

    The aircraft is now to be transported to the Garrison Museum in Aalborg where it is to be restored and exhibited.

    Full story...

  • New try to solve Earhart mystery

    Earhart in the Electra cockpit, c. 1936

    From gCaptain

    What became of Amelia Earhart’s plane when it disappeared over the Pacific 75 years ago has long intrigued aviation fans.

    On Tuesday, U.S. government officials and a private historical group are expected to announce a new effort to locate the famed aviator’s twin-engine Lockheed.

    The effort, projected to kick off in July, will be financed with roughly half a million dollars in private funds, according to people familiar with the details.

    It will focus on a remote Pacific atoll called Nikumaroro, halfway between Hawaii and Australia, near where the plane carrying Earhart and a companion may have gone down during an attempted around-the-world flight.

    A search team will concentrate on the deep waters near Nikumaroro, which was the site of a 2010 search that focused on coral reefs and nearby shallow waters, these people said.

    The search will be spearheaded again by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which has championed the theory that the renowned female aviator and Fred Noonan, the other crew member on the July 1937 flight, ended up on or near the west coast of the island, formerly called Gardner Island.

    Aviation experts aren’t unanimous in believing that scenario, and officials from the private recovery team declined to comment about specifically where they intend to look and who is financing the expedition.

    Full story...

  • Divers find WWII bomber off Swedish coast


    From The Local

    “When we got down there we expected it to be a rock, but as we pulled off the seaweed we saw that it was metal parts,“ said diver Lasse Carlsson local paper City Malmö.

    The discovery, which has been kept a secret since this summer, occurred during a university-funded expedition to explore the ocean environment in the region. 

    The coast guard registered objects on the seabed some 10 kilometres outside the Kämpinge bay. When the divers went in for a closer look, they discovered metal scrap parts spread over a 100-metre radius. 

    “It is a really interesting find. It is the first time in at least ten years that a plane with machine gun ammunition has been found in Swedish waters,” said research engineer Kjell Andersson to the paper. 

    The discovery has been kept a secret since the divers came across the wrecked aircraft during the summer. 

    Not only did the researchers fear that hobby divers might tamper with the historical remains but the site was potentially very dangerous until the Swedish military had destroyed the live ammunition still contained in the plane. 

    “The ammunition could be very dangerous,” said Andersson. 

    Swedish military divers have now assessed the site, taking photographs of the find to decide whether the ammunition should be brought to the surface or destroyed on site.

    Full story...

  • Mystery of downed WW II-era plane partially solved

    By Kevin D. Thompson - Palm Beach Post

    The mystery surrounding a downed World War II-era plane found at the bottom of the ocean has been partially solved.

    The aircraft, upside down and mostly intact, is indeed a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver as originally suspected, said Randy Jordan, the diver who discovered the plane Tuesday while diving at a depth of about 185 feet four miles off Jupiter.

    Jordan, owner of Emerald Charters, a Jupiter scuba diving company, said a cloth-like covering was found, the same kind of material that was used to cover the wings on a Curtiss Helldiver, a Navy dive bomber.

    He said the shape of the propellers and tail hook were also enough clues to positively identify the plane.

    "It's just more confirmation that this plane is a Curtiss Helldiver," Jordan said.

    But it's still not known who was on the plane or how it crashed into the murky ocean depths.

    According to the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., there were three crashes off the coast of Florida in Sept. 1944 in which the planes were either lost at sea or missing. The planes were engaged in training flights and the accidents weren't because of enemy action, the Command said.

    In an email sent to Jordan on Thursday by Robert S. Neyland, head of the underwater archaeology branch for the Naval History and Heritage Command, Jordan was instructed not to disturb the crash site or remove marine growth or sediment from the wreck.

    "Any disturbance to a sunken Navy ship or aircraft wreck requires a permit under the Sunken Military Craft Act of 2004," Neyland wrote.

    Jordan, however, said he was still allowed to dive and inspect the site.

    "This is not for recreational divers," he said.

  • Scuba divers discover airplane submerged off coast of Palm Beach County

    By Dan Corcoran - WPTV

    It was supposed to be a typical scuba dive. Randy Jordan, owner of Emerald Charters in Jupiter, grabbed his gear and ferried a small group of divers to a spot about four miles east of the Jupiter Inlet.  "Completely random drop and the captain just dropped us right on it," said Jordan. "It was just totally by accident.

    The group dove about 185 feet to the ocean floor.

    "We get down to the bottom and I see some fish that are swimming over to the right and I followed them," said Jordan. "They swam right up to this airplane. It was the most amazing thing."

    Right in front of them, Jordan said, were the remains of an aircraft.  "When you backed up, you said 'that's an airplane,' " he said.

    Underwater video taken by Jordan shows the aircraft upside-down on the ocean floor. 

    "The wings were intact, the tail was intact and if you go to the front of it, the engine's there and the propellers," he said.

    Jordan sent his images to the Warbird Information Exchange, an online source for historical aviation information.

    Experts there told Jordan that the submerged aircraft could be a Curtiss Helldiver SBC2.

    Some of those airplanes flew in the early 1940s during World War II.

    Full story...

  • The mystery of Swissair Flight 111's diamond cargo

    The cargo hold of the Swissair plane that crashed in 1998 was supposed to contain $500 million worth of diamonds and jewelry. The plane wreckage is filmed by divers off Peggys Cove, N.S., 18 days after the crash

    By Daniel Schwartz - CBC News

    Among the mysteries about the crash of Swissair Flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1998 is what happened to diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other gems that were supposed to be in the cargo hold.

    Today they would be worth half a billion dollars.

    Very little is publicly known about the gems. Three days before the crash, a popular exhibition,The Nature of Diamonds, closed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. At least one piece from the exhibit was being shipped aboard the Swissair flight on Sept. 2.

    Whoever had lent the item to the museum did not want any other information disclosed.

    A total of one kilogram of diamonds and 4.8 kilograms of jewelry was being shipped on the plane. Jewelers regularly used the airline to transport gems.

    The flight took off from JFK airport and then began to fly over the Atlantic Ocean, destined for Geneva, Switzerland, but a little less than an hour into the flight the crew noticed smoke and issued the international urgency signal "pan pan pan."

    They were cleared to proceed to the airport in Halifax but crashed in the relatively shallow water off Peggys Cove, N.S. All 229 people aboard were killed.

    98 per cent of plane recovered

    The recovery effort, American Museum of Natural History in New York, retrieved 98 per cent of the aircraft and much of the 16 tons of cargo.

    That effort included use of a suction-dredge vessel, which also retrieved rocks and other objects that had been at ocean bottom.

    Full Story...

  • Wreckage of Michigan WWII pilot's plane is located


    By Sarah Lambert - Miami Herald

    Like many men of his generation, Marshall native Charles Dobbins Sr. didn't talk much about his part in World War II.

    But several years after his death, an archaeological find in Florida brought his son and namesake, Chuck, a reminder of the dangers his father faced defending the United States.

    On Saturday, Florida archaeologist Kathy Couturier will visit Marshall to share the story of how she found the wreckage of a B-17 crash that Charles Dobbins Sr. survived in 1944.

    Couturier will give a brief presentation at 9 a.m. at the Marshall Brooks Field Airport as part of the Historic Fly-in and Drive-in.

    "It was a true history detective moment on the part of Kathy's institution and her archaeological dig," said Marshall resident Chuck Dobbins. "I got an email out of the blue that said 'Are you related to Charles Dobbins ?'"

    The history investigation began about three years ago at the Avon Park Air Force Range in south-central Florida. Kathy Couturier took a job as the range's Cultural Resource Manager/Archaeologist.

    Avon Park was once home to an Army Air Corps base, built in 1941. Young pilots such as Charles Dobbins Sr. were trained to fly combat planes there before heading overseas to war.
     The base was open for just five years, and in that time, about 200 airplanes crashed occurred during training flights, Couturier said.

    Her investigation into those crashes began not with the Dobbins B-17 plane, but with whispers about a B-26.

    "We heard rumors of a B-26 crash site in the swamp," Couturier said. "I've been here almost three years. I heard the rumor and I just wouldn't give up until I found it."

    Find it she did. The B-26 was resting in an alligator-infested swamp on the property, undisturbed for more than six decades. Her appetite whetted for war history, Couturier began pursuing tips that a B-17 was buried on the property.

    That's when she discovered what she calls the Dobbins crash site.

    World War II pilot Charles Dobbins Sr. was about 26 years old and married with his first child when he experienced what he later remembered as his biggest scare during the war - the day his plane crashed in a Florida swamp.

    It was April 1944, and Dobbins was piloting a B-17 with 10 other crew members aboard. Nearly 70 years later, archaeologist Couturier read the official accident report.

    "It took off at 3:30," Couturier said. "The co-pilot took off as the pilot (Dobbins) watched. The pilot took over. The number one engine oil pressure dropped at 200 feet."

    The report stated that Dobbins attempted to restart the engine and tried to do an emergency landing on the runway.

    "They attempted to land it on the runway, that didn't work, and they had to land it in the swamp," Chuck Dobbins said, recalling the story as his father told him years later.

    "It was infested with alligators and snakes. He always told me that was the only thing, believe it or not, that he was scared of in the war - was the alligators."



  • POW/MIA team finds potential underwater crash sites off Vietnam's coast

    Crewmembers from the USNS Bowditch prepare a hydrographic survey launch during a recent mission off the coast of Vietnam to find underwater crash sites stemming from the Vietnam War 
    Photo Ron Ward

    By Erik Slavin - Stars and Stripes

    A U.S. team charged with bringing home the remains of fallen servicemembers found several likely underwater crash sites off the coast of Vietnam in recent weeks, thanks in part to advances in sonar technology.

    On Monday, a three-man team from the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, wrapped up a 27-day mission to find Vietnam War casualties in Vietnam’s territorial waters, team leader Ron Ward told Stars and Stripes via telephone from Hanoi on Tuesday.

    The team found the potential sites with help from the U.S. Navy Oceanographic Office and the USNS Bowditch, a survey vessel from the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The Bowditch is equipped with a multi-beam, wide-angle sonar system, which uses sound pulses to map the ocean floor at higher resolution and accuracy than past systems.

    The military believes there are about 600 crash sites off the Vietnamese coast stemming from the war, Ward said.

    The team, which also worked with the Vietnam's Office for Seeking Missing Persons, found potential crash sites in waters within 12 nautical miles of Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Da Nang.

    “It was a successful mission in terms of detecting anomalies on the seabed that we think might be associated with [service member] losses,” Ward said.

    The preliminary data must now be analyzed by a JPAC forensic anthropologist.

    At promising sites, JPAC teams can use remote exploration vehicles or send divers to see what the sonar array detected.

    The Navy first studied the prospect of recovering remains from underwater sites during the war, but ultimately decided against it, Ward said.

    Full story...

  • Nazi warplane lying off UK coast is intact

    A World War II era German bomber is seen using high-tech sonar equipment on the sea floor off southeast England

    By Stefano Ambrogi - Yahoo News

    A rare World War Two German bomber, shot down over the English Channel in 1940 and hidden for years by shifting sands at the bottom of the sea, is so well preserved a British museum wants to raise it.

    The Dornier 17 -- thought to be world's last known example -- was hit as it took part in the Battle of Britain.

    It ditched in the sea just off the Kent coast, southeast England, in an area known as the Goodwin Sands.

    The plane came to rest upside-down in 50 feet of water and has become partially visible from time to time as the sands retreated before being buried again.

    Now a high-tech sonar survey undertaken by the Port of London Authority (PLA) has revealed the aircraft to be in a startling state of preservation.

    Ian Thirsk, from the RAF Museum at Hendon in London, told the BBC he was "incredulous" when he first heard of its existence and potential preservation.

    "This aircraft is a unique aeroplane and it's linked to an iconic event in British history, so its importance cannot be over-emphasized, nationally and internationally," he said.

    "It's one of the most significant aeronautical finds of the century."

    Known as "the flying pencil," the Dornier 17 was designed as a passenger plane in 1934 and was later converted for military use as a fast bomber, difficult to hit and theoretically able to outpace enemy fighter aircraft.

    In all, some 1,700 were produced but they struggled in the war with a limited range and bomb load capability and many were scrapped afterwards.

    Striking high-resolution images appear to show that the Goodwin Sands plane suffered only minor damage, to its forward cockpit and observation windows, on impact.

    "The bomb bay doors were open, suggesting the crew jettisoned their cargo," said PLA spokesman Martin Garside.

  • Riddle of missing Spitfire ace shot down after D-Day

    Spitfir lost 66 years ago

    By Tim Finan and David Wilkes - Daily Mail

    For 66 years, the brave young Spitfire pilot’s final resting place had been a mystery.

    Flight Lieutenant Henry Lacy Smith was shot down by the Germans five days after D-Day on a mission supporting the Allied invasion in Normandy.

    His last radio message to comrades was: ‘I’m going to put this thing down in a field.’

    But the Australian’s plane then nose-dived into the sea and he was designated ‘missing believed killed’.

    Now, however, the puzzle has been solved after locals spotted something sticking out of the mud in the Orne estuary near Caen at low tide and decided to investigate.

    They could see only small parts of the legendary plane at the site, close to the D-Day landmarks of Sword Beach and Pegasus bridge.

    But after staging a remarkable rescue operation they were astonished at how well preserved its fuselage and wooden propellor were. The dials on the instrument panel were still recognisable.

    After the wreckage was towed ashore, the remains of Flight Lieutenant Smith were found in the cockpit. They were placed in a coffin and will be handed to the Australian Embassy in France today.

    The pilot, known as Lacy to his friends, was one of the first pilots to land in France following the invasion of Europe. He was 27 when he was shot down on June 11, 1944.

    The former textile worker had enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force in May 1941.

    He served with the RAAF’s 453 Squadron, motto ‘Ready to Strike’, which was part of RAF Fighter Command from June 1942, and married his English wife Edna the year before his death.

    Official letters of condolence from his Squadron Leader, Donald Hamilton Smith, were sent to his widow in Bournemouth and to his father Richard in New South Wales, saying he was ‘lying in an unknown grave’.

    Read and see more...

  • B-29 Superfortress at the Bottom of Lake Mead

    By Jim Burnett - National Parks  Traveler

    A Hollywood writer would love this plot…but it's true.

    The "largest, most advanced aircraft of its day," modified for a secret research mission, takes off for a flight over the desert. Painted on its nose are the words, "Cosmic Ray Research."

    The plane ends up at the bottom of one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, Lake Mead, where the wreck becomes a prized find for underwater archeologists.

    The plane was a B-29 Superfortress, one of the last built near the end of World War II at the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas. This particular aircraft underwent modifications in 1947 to transform it from a weapon of war to a flying laboratory for Project Apollo, a joint Army/Navy Cold War research program.

    On July 21, 1948, the aircraft took off from its base in California and headed east over the desert. It was on a special military mission to conduct atmospheric research using a then top secret instrument called the “sun tracker” that was installed on the plane—hence the words "Cosmic Ray Research" painted on its nose.

    The mission required runs at altitudes ranging from 30,000 feet to "as low as possible."

    While the plane was making a low run over Lake Mead, something went awry. The pilot later reported, “The water was very calm. Surface was absolutely smooth,” when the plane struck the surface of the lake. The landing must have been quite a ride for those on board: according to one account, when the plane hit the water, three of the four engines were torn off and the plane "skipped like a stone for more than a quarter mile."

    All five men aboard the aircraft escaped into life rafts before the plane sank to the bottom of Lake Mead. The crew members were rescued by local boaters, and the plane remains where it sank, under about 170 feet of water. Its location was an intriguing mystery for over 50 years; its discovery was announced in 2002. According to the park, it is "remarkably intact with the unique design features and structural modifications still visible."

    For reasons of safety and protection of the historic bomber, the site is "closed to SCUBA and all forms of underwater diving unless a permit has been issued by the Chief Ranger's office." The combination of the depth of the wreck and the cold water make the location too risky for most recreational divers. Visits to the bottom at this depth are classified as "technical dives," and require special equipment and training.

    At various times in recent years, commercial dive operators have held a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) to conduct guided technical scuba dives at the B-29 site, but no such agreements are currently in place.

    According to park spokesman Andrew Muñoz, a prospectus for a new CUA is currently undergoing review, and is expected to be advertised for open bidding early next year. If a new CUA is issued, private divers will once again be able to visit the site.

    Lest collectors be tempted to attempt something foolish, it should be noted that all known artifacts from the wreck are now in safekeeping in the park's museum collection.

    Lake Mead National Recreation Area has been legally designated as "custodian of the B29 Superfortress Bomber and all its appurtenances."



  • 'I've found Kingsford-Smith's plane': Damien Lay

    The "Southern Cross" takes off from Oakland, Cal., May 31, 1928

    By Steve Creedy - The Australian

    After weathering typhoons, carbon-dioxide poisoning and sceptics, filmmaker Damien Lay is convinced he has found the Lady Southern Cross. Lay is planning to take family members to the site in November for the 75th anniversary of the disappearance of famed Australian aviator Charles Kingsford-Smith.

    Kingsford-Smith disappeared over the Andaman Sea with co-pilot John Thompson "Tommy" Pethybridge in November 1935, while flying from India to Singapore on his way home from England. The only trace of the plane ever found was a Lockheed Altair starboard undercarriage leg recovered with a still-inflated tyre in May 1937.

    It was found by Burmese fishermen near Aye Island, south of Rangoon.

    Lay last year claimed to have found the plane after taking sonar images of three equilateral triangles he believed were part of the plane's wing in thick mud under 20m of water.

    The filmmaker has returned to the site five times and has located an object he believes is the plane's engine block.

    Lay's claims have their critics. Aviator Dick Smith last year described the chances of the find being the Lady Southern Cross as 1000 to one and Kingsford-Smith's biographer, Ian Mackersey, described the claims as complete nonsense.

    The filmmaker has been wrong before. In 2005 he claimed to have located near Broken Bay a third Japanese midget submarine involved in an attack on Sydney Harbour.

    That vessel, however, was later found 5km off Sydney's northern beaches. Aircraft manufacturer Lockheed-Martin said Lay could be on the right track, although there was not enough information to be sure. The problem for Lay is that the remote site is in thick mud in water with zero visibility.

    He admitted this week he still did not have definitive proof that the remains were the Lady Southern Cross but he hoped to change that by November. "I'm still 100 per cent convinced that I'm right," he said.

    "The challenges that we face in proving that are enormous, and that's what we're working through at the moment."



  • Odyssey Marine lends underwater treasure hunting skills to help plane crash site

    Soldiers view wreckage of the plane crash washed up on shore

    From Robert Trigaux - Tampa

    We've gotten used to Tampa undersea treasure hunting pro Odyssey Marine Exploration announcing new deep water finds of sunken ships and the potential for new riches to be salvaged.

    So we were a bit surprised to read Odyssey's ongoing involvement in helping the government of Lebanon document the underwater crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409.

    Flight 409 was a scheduled international flight from Beirut, Lebanon, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after take-off on Jan. 25, 2010, killing all 90 people on board.

    Here's a New York Times account of the crash at the time. Odyssey says its Ocean Alert search vessel was nearby at the time, using the Beirut port for fuel and supplies while the company negotiated an agreement with Lebanon to partner in a deep-ocean project.

    When Flight 409 crashed, Lebanese authorities asked Odyssey to assist in the search and recovery efforts. Before the plane wreckage was discovered, Odyssey's task was to help document the site. Odyssey says it has been paid $1.4 million for the work completed so far by the Lebanese government.

    "We presently have a signed agreement with the insurance company to create a photomosaic of the entire area of wreckage and debris which we are commencing in August 2010," the company says.

    Nice to see Odyssey can lend its underwater talents to such mercy missions. I'm sure this will not be the last time the company will be called on to assist in submerged tasks other than treasure hunting.

  • Crews to prepare recovery site for WWII plane

    The Navy logo on the tail of the Helldiver bomber - A&T Recovery

    By Ed Zieralski - Union/Tribune

    City of San Diego ranger-divers on Tuesday will begin preparing the recovery site to lift a vintage World War II fighter plane that has been at the bottom of Lower Otay Lake since it crashed there in 1945.

    Capt. Bob Rasmussen, director of the Florida-based National Naval Aviation Museum, said he should have an exact date for the recovery operation by the end of the week.

    “We’re going to give it a shot, and we’re looking at the middle of August right now,” Rasmussen said.

    That news set off a chain reaction in San Diego, where the city, which owns the reservoir and water, will prepare a triangular boom that will be used to collect any fuel, oil or other toxins that may leak from the plane when it’s being recovered.

    A&T Recovery, based in Chicago, will conduct the complex operation of cleaning debris from inside and around the plane. Divers and engineers will then work off a plan drawn up by Taras Lyssenko and his engineers from A&T Recovery.

    “The first thing we have to do is pull all the mud back and from inside the plane and around it,” Lyssenko said. “We have to see what the structure and integrity of the plane is like before we attempt to lift it. We have to see if there is any fuel or toxins there.”


    Latest news

  • 'Spirit of Miami' artificial reef rediscovered

    Spirit of Miami - Dive

    By Susan Cocking - Miami

    The retired Boeing 727 jetliner was billed as the jewel of Miami-Dade's thriving artificial reef program.

    But almost as soon as the "Spirit of Miami" was scuttled 17 years ago, vandals unbolted steel cables attaching it to the bottom of Biscayne Bay and made off with souvenirs. Tropical Storm Gordon snapped it into pieces in 1995. 

    Rolling free on the sandy bottom, the pieces scattered, and the reef that had been sunk with national fanfare disappeared, pretty much forgotten -- until now.

    As workers from the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) checked possible locations for new artificial reefs earlier this spring with laser-assisted depth-sound equipment, they found ``a couple of blips we had not seen before,'' said Steve Blair, chief of the agency's restoration and enhancement section.

    In a follow-up dive, they discovered three pieces of the Spirit of Miami: a part of the tail section lying on its side, a portion of the fuselage and a piece of the wing.

    The remains lie in the sand 110 feet deep, about 500 feet northeast of the original deployment site three miles off Key Biscayne. Several other artificial reefs, including the Ophelia Brian sunk last December, lie nearby.

    "That wreck put diving in Miami on the map," said Stephen O'Neal, owner of the Miami salvage company that supplied the plane. "It's exciting talking about it after all these years."

    The pieces of the wreck are now covered with soft corals and dotted with spiny oysters that snap their shells closed when divers approach, as a group discovered on a recent dive with Capt. Mike Beach of the Big Com-Ocean dive boat based at Miami Beach Marina.

  • WWII plane in lake could rise again

    Curtiss SB2C Helldiver

    From Wavy

    Salvagers have won permission to recover a World War II Navy dive bomber that has rested on the bottom of a San Diego reservoir for more than six decades.

    City and state permits have been obtained for a $125,000 operation to bring up the SB2C-4 Helldiver from Lower Otay Reservoir, said Nelson Manville, a city assistant lakes manager.

    The work could begin within a few weeks, with the goal of eventually displaying the plane in the National Naval Aviation Museum in Florida.

    "We're just waiting for the recovery team and museum to give us a date," Manville told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "This is drinking water, so a lot is going into this because we're going to have to shut the lake down from the system."

    Divers with Chicago-based salvage firm A&T Recovery examined the plane last year and will have to dredge silt from around the aircraft to see whether it can be recovered.

    The Helldiver had taken off from an aircraft carrier and was on a training run when its engine failed and the pilot ditched on May 28, 1945. The pilot and gunner swam to shore, and the Navy decided to leave the bomber at the bottom of the lake.

    It was forgotten until March 2009, when a bass fisherman using an electronic fish finder spotted its outline in 85 feet of water.

    There are only a half-dozen or less Helldivers left in existence, retired Capt. Robert L. Rasmussen, the museum's director, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

    "No matter how you cut it, they are very rare and we don't have one in our collection," he said. "We've got nearly everything else that's significant to Naval aviation."





  • Warplane, M.I.A. For 60 Years, Comes Home to WNY


    By Pete Gallivan -

    It was a journey that began christmas morning, 1943 in Wheatfield. A P-39 Airacobra, one of the 30,000 planes produced here in Western New York for the war effort, rolls from the hanger and takes off, headed west.

    She was one of 10,000 planes, many from here in Western New York, that were sent to Russia. It was also a bit of WNY technology turned the tide against the Nazi's.

    The P-39 was known as the "flying cannon". She was a force in the air. It was equipped with 2 machine guns in the wings, two more in the nose, a 37 mm cannon in the nose and a state of the art radio system.

    But on a mission in 1944, this plane disappeared

    Fast forward 60 years to July 2004. A fisherman on Lake Mart-Yavr in arctic Russia spotted something under the water. A British warbird recovery team was called in and what they found was absolutely astounding.

    The plane was recovered intact. The pilots remains, and medals were still in the cockpit, so was the plane's logbook.


  • Mystery at the bottom of Lake Michigan

    By Shawn McGrath - HP

    Was it violent weather ? Mechanical failure ? Or pilot error ?

    Nearly 60 years after the crash of Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 about 20 miles off South Haven in Lake Michigan, the cause of the then-worst air disaster in U.S. history is still unknown, and the location of the plane's watery grave remains a mystery despite yearly searches for the wreckage.

    William Kaufmann was 6 years old and living in Seattle when his mother, 43-year-old Dorothy Jean Kaufmann, died in the crash.

    "It was especially tragic because she missed her plane and took the next one, and that's the one that went down," Kaufmann, now 66 and a lawyer living in Oakland, Calif., said recently.

    "I remember talking to her on the phone - the last time I talked to her - and she called to say she was going to be a day late. So, of course, I got up in the morning and asked my father if she was home, and you never saw such a look on a man's face."

    According to the Civil Aeronautics Board's report of the crash, this is how the flight proceeded.

    Piloted by 35-year-old Robert Lind, the four-engine DC-4 departed New York City's LaGuardia Airport bound for Seattle via Minneapolis and Spokane at 8:31 p.m. (EST) Friday, June 23, 1950. There were 55 passengers - including six children - and three crew members on board.

    About 11:50 p.m., the crew reported to Air Route Traffic Control that the flight was over Battle Creek and due over Milwaukee at 12:30 a.m. About 12:15 a.m., near Benton Harbor, the plane was at 3,500 feet and the crew asked to drop to 2,500 for an unspecified reason.

    Air traffic controllers denied the request because of other air traffic, and the crew's acknowledgment a few minutes later was the last communication sent from the plane.

  • WWII fighter plane buried in Wales for 65 years to be displayed

    Buried WWII fighter plane

    By Peter Hutchison -

    A Second World War fighter plane buried under sand on a Welsh beach for 65 years is to be recovered and placed in a museum under a new plan.

    Conservationists are in discussions with museums over hosting the United States Army Air Force fighter thought to be the oldest surviving aircraft of its type.

    The Lockheed-P38 Lighting, known as the Maid of Harlech, crashed on the Gwynedd coast in 1942 when its engines cut out while taking part in secret training exercises.

    The pilot, Second Lieutenant Robert Elliot, walked away from the crash uninjured but was reported missing in action three months later during a campaign in Tunisia.

    In 2007 shifting sands revealed the plane for the first time in decades and the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) set about protecting it.

    Ric Gillespie, leading the TIGHAR team hoping to secure enough funding to pull the plane from the sand, said: “It’s one on the most significant WWII-related archaeological discoveries in recent history. Nature has done a good job hiding the wreck.”


  • WWII-era plane ID’d

    By Ilima Loomis - The Maui News

    A World War II-era wreck off South Maui first documented in January has been identified as an SBC-2 Helldiver, ditched in Maalaea Bay on a training flight by a Navy pilot in 1944.

    Maritime archaeologist Hans Van Tilburg of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dived to the site Saturday and confirmed that it was the plane identified by two groups of private divers separately investigating the wreck.

    He said the U.S. Navy was in the process of making a plaque to mark the site, which is protected under state and federal law, and that officials may also consider installing a mooring nearby.

    Van Tilburg said the aircraft was a rare find, not only because the wreck was almost completely preserved, but also because there are very few Helldivers left in existence.

    "I'm definitely impressed," he said. "It's remarkably intact. I've seen a number of aircraft like this, and this one is very intact. That makes it very special."

    When the wreck was first documented in January, it was initially believed to be an SBD Dauntless dive bomber. But B&B Scuba Maui owner Brad Varney, who first reported the site to government authorities after learning about it from a local fisherman, said he realized after visiting the wreck a second time that it was actually a Helldiver.

    Today the plane rests on the sandy bottom of Maalaea Bay in about 50 feet of water, encrusted with coral and surrounded by schools of fish.

    According to Navy crash records researched by private divers investigating the site, the plane was making a dive-bombing practice attack Aug. 31, 1944, when high-speed maneuvers damaged the tail fin and jammed the rudder controls.

    With only limited ability to control the aircraft, pilot William E. Dill, a Navy lieutenant, made a water landing, surviving the crash without injuries.

    Varney, a self-described "history nut," said it was exciting to pore over 60-year-old crash reports and other documents as he and colleagues pieced the story together.


  • Pilot and history of the Helldiver crash uncovered

    By Harry Donenfeld - Hawaii Nature Examiner

    In January of 2010, a team of divers lead by local Maui dive shop B&B Scuba dove on the wreck of an aircraft that had previously only been known by some of Maui's local fisherman. It turned out that the aircraft they dove on was a Curtis SB2C-1C Helldiver. The last of the WWII dive bombers.

    The plane sat on the bottom of the ocean, on a flat sandy bottom, for 66 years.

    She lay there collecting only corals and becoming a hostess to a myriad of life. From the giant Yellow Margin Eel that lives in the cockpit to the Ulua that roam under her wings, she has become a haven for life under the sea.

    Truly, a thing of beauty.

    Now it is time to bring her to light and share her history and short life with the world. A second team of divers led by Chris Quarre' of North Shore Explorers did a forensic analysis of the aircraft uncovering the tail numbers and thereby identifying her conclusively. Between the two teams a history for this lost wreck has started to unfold. One I am proud to announce here.

    The pilot of the plane was Lt. William E. Dill and the plane went down of the 31st of August, 1944. Thanks to the cooperation of Sean Dyer from the fist dive team, we have the actual accident report that was submitted to the Navy back in 1944 !

    The plane made a water landing after suffering catastrophic failure of the tail rudder.

    The plane could no longer be controlled and Lt. William E. Dill decided that the only course of action was to land the plane in the water with no tail rudder for assistance. Truly an amazing feat of flying !


  • Wreck of airship USS Macon added to National Register of Historic Places

    USS Macon

    By Bill Goldston -

    Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the loss of the U.S. Navy airship USS Macon, NOAA on Thursday announced that the wreck site on the seafloor within Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

    The Macon, a 785-foot dirigible was one of the largest airships in the world – comparable in size to the RMS Titanic. It was intended to serve as a scout ship for the Pacific Fleet and had the ability to launch and recover Sparrowhawk biplanes.

    In service less than two years, the Macon, based at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, Calif., was damaged in a storm on Feb. 12, 1935, and sank in the Pacific Ocean off Point Sur, south of San Francisco. All but two of the Macon’s 83 crewmen were rescued by nearby Navy ships.

    “The USS Macon and its four associated Sparrowhawk biplanes are not only historically significant to our nation’s history, but have unique ties to our local communities, where public museums highlight the airship’s history,”

    “The National Register listing highlights the importance of protecting the wreck site and its artifacts for further understanding our past” said Paul Michel, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary superintendent.

    The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural places considered worth preserving.

    Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

    Properties listed in the National Register can qualify for federal grants for historic preservation.


  • Harbor Branch part of hush-hush search for Amelia Earhart's plane

    Research Vessel Seward Johnson

    From TCPalm

    Now it can be told: About 20 staffers from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute took part in a hush-hush search for Amelia Earhart’s plane in the depths of the Pacific Ocean during spring 2009.

    Now it can be admitted: They didn’t find the wreckage of the Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft that disappeared July 2, 1937, as Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan attempted an around-the-world flight.

    But now it can be said: Members of the expedition still deem it a success because of the scientific information compiled and discoveries made along the way, including a new species of deep-water fish and the mapping of about 2,500 nautical square miles of the ocean floor, much of it within the newly established Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

    “Finding Amelia’s plane was certainly not a sure thing,” said Lee Frey, senior ocean engineer at the Harbor Branch division of Florida Atlantic University and project manager of the expedition, “so we built a good scientific plan to make sure the mission was successful. As a result, we did some very useful science in a very unexplored part of the world.”


  • WWII Fighter Plane Recovered

    From Discovery News

    A World War II fighter plane was recovered from the depths of Lake Michigan, more than 60 years after it crashed during a training exercise.

    Cranes lifted the F6F-3 Hellcat out of 250 feet of water in Waukegan, Ill., about 40 miles north of Chicago, on Tuesday.

    The plane had been submerged since Lt. Walter Elcock, the pilot who survived the crash, was practicing landing on the U.S.S. Sable aircraft carrier on Jan. 5, 1945.

    As he was coming to the deck, Elcock recalled he brought the plane in too low, lost his lift and crashed into the water, according to an interview with the Daily Mail.

    He is now 89 years old and lives in Atlanta. The plane will eventually be displayed at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Florida.

    This is the sixth Hellcat fighter plane that the U.S. Navy has pulled out of Lake Michigan. Most recently, the Douglas SBD Dauntless U.S. Navy plane was recovered from the lake in April.

  • Divers identify sunken U.S. WWII plane

    U/W archaeologists

    By Cindy Chan - Epoch Times

    Parks Canada underwater archaeologists have confirmed that a plane they discovered in the deep waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is the wreckage of an American World War II aircraft accidentally downed in 1942.

    The plane, a U.S. Army Air Force PBY-5A, was lost in rough weather 67 years ago near the village of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan in Quebec.

    Only four of the nine crew members managed to escape the sinking craft and were rescued by local villagers.

    The dives, which focused on visual inspection from outside the airplane, found the fuselage in one piece and the plane in good condition.

    There is a possibility that human remains may be recovered, and the findings have been shared with U.S. officials.

    “We will continue working with the United States to determine the following steps to hopefully be able to repatriate the lost soldiers.

    In the meantime, we will work closely with all the relevant authorities to ensure the site is protected,” said Jim Prentice, federal Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, in a news release.

    See more...

  • U.S. World War II plane possibly found with bodies

    By Greg Quinn - Bloomberg

    Canadian park workers found what they presume is a U.S. World War II aircraft that sank off the coast of Quebec in 1942 with five people trapped inside.

    Sonar scans show the plane is in “very good condition,” and divers and remote-controlled vehicles will make closer inspections, Parks Canada said in a statement today.

    “There is a possibility of finding human remains,” the statement said.

    Canadian archaeologists presume the wreckage is an amphibious PBY 5A plane that sank in 1942 off the coast of the village of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan. Four crew members of that plane escaped before it flooded and were rescued in rough seas by local fisherman who rowed out to save them.

    U.S. and Canadian officials are cooperating to protect the site and see what can be recovered, the statement said.

    “This plane is a testament to the collaboration between Canada and the U.S. during the Second World War,” Christian Paradis, Canada’s regional minister for Quebec, said today in the statement.


  • Search finds plane 100 feet down in lake muck


    By Lisa Demer - Anchorage Daily News

    If not for the adventurers who went looking for it, the old ghost plane would still be lost in the dark muck at the bottom of an isolated Alaska lake.

    Nearly 16 years ago, a sightseeing pilot crashed his 1946 two-seater into the unnamed lake -- and lived.

    But that's just the start of the tale.

    This month a group of deep sea divers and pilots with a passion for finding lost wrecks descended on the lake to resurrect this one little plane.

    It's not especially valuable or historic. No one was sure it would ever fly again. So why did 11 people, some of them not even Alaskans, spend time and muscle on a risky salvage operation ?

    "For the adventure. For the fun of it. For the challenge," said Steve Lloyd, an Anchorage diver who helped organize the expedition.



  • Recovered WW II B-25 bomber, bombs cause stir in Watson Lake

    Bomber wreckage

    From CBC News

    Second World War artifacts, including a pile of vintage 500-pound bombs and the nose section of an American B-25 bomber, have surfaced in Watson Lake, causing a small turf war between the Yukon government and the Alberta couple that salvaged the plane wreckage.

    The couple recovered a section of the bomber, which was part of an Allied training fleet during the Second World War, from a nearby lake last week.

    While details are sorted out between the government and the couple, the recovered material isn't going anywhere.

    "What we have right now is a section of the aircraft, the nose section, on a trailer, out at the lake," Watson Lake RCMP Cpl. Tom Howell told CBC News on Wednesday.

    "What we're dealing with here is an aircraft that's been known to be there for a while, but people who have salvaged it were doing it basically as a … working holiday, just trying to raise this wreck and perhaps restore it."

    The B-25 bomber is believed to have skidded off an airport runway in 1944, ending up in the water.

  • World War II dive bomber found in lake Michigan to be restored in Pensacola

    WWII fighter plane


    A WWII-era fighter plane is brought to land from Lake Michigan at Waukegan Harbor, Friday, April 24, 2009, in Waukegan, Ill.

    A group of undersea treasure hunters and Great Lakes salvage experts have retrieved the plane 60-plus years after it fell off a training aircraft carrier and into the water some 50 miles off shore from Chicago.The plane will be restored and displayed at the WWII Museum in New Orleans.

    More to read...

  • The hunt for the lost B-36 bomber

    B-36 bomber

    By Michelle Tuzee

    One of the largest military planes ever built crashed nose-first off the Southern California coast in the early days of the Cold War. That U.S. Air Force B-36, and its pilot, sank to the ocean floor never to be seen again, until now.

    Captain Ray Arntz and his team spent years searching for the B-36 bomber, which went down in August 1952. The bomber had a crew of eight onboard.

    "It was the largest combat operational bomber ever built, and ever to fly in the world," said aviation archaeologist Pat Macha.

    The B-36 was stripped down in "Operation Featherweight." However, it was still massive. It had 10 engines, a wingspan of 230 feet and the ability to haul 84,000 pounds of bombs.

    The B-36 was nicknamed "The Peacemaker" because it was more of a deterrent to Cold War Russia. It never flew in combat. The doomed B-36 was on a test flight from San Diego's Lindbergh Field when one of its engines caught fire. 

    "The pilot instantly realized they were in dire straits," said Macha. "He turned that plane around, headed it out away from San Diego."



  • Fishermen find plane wrecks

    From the Jakarta Post

    While sailing to catch fish, 10 fishermen discovered the remains of an aeroplane in waters around Thousand Islands on Friday. 

    The fishermen were still being questioned as witnesses by the local police Friday. Police suspect the plane was a U.S. Navy battle plane manufactured in 1915. 

    The beach patrol was still searching for other parts in the waters between Monyet Island and Tala Island. 

    The patrol started diving at 10 a.m. They will take any additional remains to the nearby port before further investigation, said to beach patrol police chief Adj. Sr. Comr.

  • Salvage activity to be filmed in Gulf of Mexico

    By Kevin Lollar


    A group of modern-day explorers is preparing to search the Gulf of Mexico for underwater wreck sites of historical value - they also hope to have a documentary about their 2008 adventures ready by the end of the year.

    Last year, Tim Wicburg, Brian Ulman, Tom O'Brien and Jon "Hammerhead" Hazelbaker TBT&J (which stands for Tim, Brian, Tom and Jon) launched an expedition to find a pile of gold bullion.

    They ended up solving a 66-year-old mystery and created Underwater Historical Explorations to continue their work.

    TBT&J's journey actually began Nov. 16, 1942, when a B-26 Marauder flying a training mission out of Fort Myers Army Airbase (now known as Page Field) crashed 30 miles south of the Sanibel Lighthouse.

    Search teams recovered the bodies of the pilot and co-pilot; the other four crew members were never found.


  • Sonar ship to hunt WW2 bomber off north-west coast

    By Andrew Bushe

    A hi-tech sonar ship will undertake a seabed survey next year for a World War Two bomber that sank after ditching in the Atlantic Ocean north-west of Donegal.

    The four-engined Halifax - number LW170 - was forced to ditch in August 1945 after it sprang a fuel leak while on patrol from a base in Scotland. 

    The aircraft remained afloat for seven hours before eventually sinking an estimated 1.6km to the bottom of the ocean. The crew took to a life raft and were rescued by a passing freighter.

    The Canadian sonar ship will search the seabed for the plane as part of efforts to recover the iconic aircraft.

    "This is the big break and opportunity we were looking for these past three years," said Karl Kjarsgaard, an Ottawa-based airline pilot who is manager of the 'Halifax 57 Rescue' project.



  • Search for two men suspended

    By Luis Perez and Kim Wilmath


    The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search tonight for two men missing after their plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico 20-miles southwest of Yankeetown.

    At 5:40 p.m Tuesday. Coast Guard officials said they were stopping the search pending further developments.

    Zachary Schlitt, 28, who lived in West Palm Beach and Darien Peckham, 34, (pictured below), from Tampa, have been missing since Sunday..

    Rescue crews searched for them for more than 40 hours over a 2,800-square mile area focusing on two areas where a seat and a flight bag containing aviation headphones were found. There was no sign of the men or their plane.

    The two were traveling in a small Tampa-bound plane when, at about 6:45 p.m Sunday, an air traffic controller in Jacksonville reported that their 35-year-old twin-engine, fixed-wing Beech 35 Debonair aircraft, traveling from Tallahassee to Vandenberg Airport, lost contact, according to the FAA.

    The Coast Guard says the plane crashed into the gulf shortly after disappearing from radar.

  • High-tech explorers search Mon for elusive B-25

    By Matthew Santoni

    Divers and scientists are spending this weekend delving into a mystery that has lurked in the muddy waters of the Monongahela River for 52 years: What happened to the B-25 bomber that splashed into the river at the height of the Cold War ?

    The official record says that on Jan. 31, 1956, the World War II-era bomber ran out of fuel en route to Harrisburg and ditched in the river -- just missing the Homestead High-level Bridge on its approach -- before floating downstream and sinking.

    But local lore says the plane was raised by the Army and spirited away in the dead of night to hide a secret cargo, ranging from UFO parts to nuclear bomb components.

    This weekend, the "B-25 Recovery Group" is trying for the third time in 14 years to find the remains of the plane, this time armed with the latest technologies for searching beneath the water and silt.


  • Unmarked grave containing 1950 crash victims found

    From Associated Press

    A researcher investigating the 1950 crash of an airliner in Lake Michigan has found an unmarked grave that she believes contains the remains of some of the 58 victims. 

    Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 went down off the coast of South Haven on June 23, 1950, as it flew from New York to Minneapolis en route to Seattle, killing all 55 passengers and three crew members aboard the DC-4. The crash happened during a raging thunderstorm but no cause could be determined. 

    Author Clive Cussler and Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates, an organization that documents shipwrecks in the big lake, have searched extensively but unsuccessfully for significant wreckage for several years. 

    But Valerie van Heest, a co-founder of the shipwreck group, discovered that human remains washed ashore after the crash and were buried in a mass grave.

    They were interred in Riverview Cemetery without the knowledge of the victims' families and the grave never was marked.

  • Treasure hunters plunder wrecks

    By Ben Langford

    Rogue divers are raiding heritage-listed wrecks in Darwin Harbour, regular visitors to the sites said yesterday. 

    Local divers said artefacts had been stolen from the RAAF C-47 plane wreck in Fannie Bay. 

    Regular diver Peter Darlington dived the wreck recently and said items including a radio, flight gauges and a fire extinguisher had been taken.

    An engine and a propeller had also been dislodged.

    "Many of the artefacts have been removed and there are signs of extensive damage to the airframe itself," he said.

    There are fears that other wrecks in the harbour may have been looted.

    Some of the damage to the C-47 appeared to have been done by a large anchor, though anchoring at the site is not allowed.

    The raids are recent, probably within the past two months.


  • Gulf treasure hunters went looking for gold, found lost military plane

    B-26  B-26  B-26

    From Naples News

    They sound like treasure hunters. HammerHead. Fiberglass Bob. Caucasian Tim. And they talk like them, too. The grizzled salts and the young ones, too.

    I believe the gold’s out there,” said Jake Wicburg, the 14-year-old son of Capt. Tim (not Caucasian Tim) Wicburg.

    And is he going to be the one who finds it ? “Oh yeah,” he says.

    The plane’s there and the gold’s there,” the elder Wicburg said. “I’ll be looking for it for the rest of my life.

    When a young Timmie Wicburg snagged a piece of an airplane on a fish hook in 1990, he had heard the stories. So had his dad, the late Capt. Jim Wicburg.