Sunday, January 01, 2006

Divers find WWII Navy warplane 62 years after crash into Lake Washington

November 15, 2004

SEATTLE, Washington -- An underwater search and recovery team said they have found the wreckage of a World War II-era Navy war plane in Lake Washington.

Two members of the Innerspace Exploration Team, a nonprofit group based in suburban Mill Creek, found the TBF-1 Avenger torpedo-bomber last month using high-resolution sonar technology, the group announced today.

Crayton Fenn, one of the divers who spotted the aircraft Oct. 31, said it was broken up in several pieces about 200 feet beneath the surface off the lake's northwestern shore near Magnuson Park, the site of the Sand Point Naval Air Station during World War II.

The search took only an hour and 15 minutes, because the other diver involved, John Sharps, had done research on the plane crash that helped pinpoint its location.

"Sure enough, it was right where he thought it would be," said Fenn, who runs and owns Fenn Enterprises, a marine survey company.

The plane crashed on Aug. 17, 1942, when it had a mid-air collision with a Grumman F4F Wildcat during a training exercise. Both planes were based at Sand Point.

The Avenger, the same type of plane former President George H. W. Bush was flying when he was shot down in 1944, was badly damaged and crashed into the lake. The pilot and one gunner were rescued, but a second gunner died.
The pilot of the Wildcat bailed out and was rescued.

Established in 1984, the Innerspace Exploration Team said it was the first to discover six of the nine aircraft known to be submerged in Lake Washington.

The group has been involved in several other projects, including searching for derelict fishing gear in northern Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and helping NASA and other federal agencies search for Columbia Space Shuttle debris in 2003.

SOURCE - Reuters

Check out this link with Avenger specs.



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