WWII Airplane Found In Pacific


A U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger airplane, which had been missing since July 1944, was found last week about 85 feet deep in the Pacific Ocean, near the island nation of Palau, by Project Recover. The project is a collaborative effort between the Office of Naval Research, several universities and private funders, and is working to locate all aircraft and associated Americans missing in action since World War II. “This recovery is another step closer towards Project Recover’s goal,” said Dan Friedkin, chairman of the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation. “Every family member impacted by the loss of a service member deserves this type of closure.” The search teams have combined the use of the most advanced oceanographic technology with archival research, veteran interviews and satellite imagery, and have found six wrecks since 2012. The team’s search equipment includes scanning sonars, high-definition and thermal cameras, unmanned aerial systems and underwater robots.

Mark Moline, one of the university researchers working with the group, said the Avenger was identified mainly by its distinctive gun turret. “When it’s coming in at 400 knots, it doesn’t look much like a plane anymore,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The wreck is covered with coral and algae. The group does not divulge whether the wrecks they find contain the remains of American servicemen. Information on the sites is turned over to the Pentagon’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which is tasked with recovery and repatriation efforts, including contacting surviving relatives. The team plans to search for wrecks in the waters off England this summer, according to the Inquirer.