Researchers Image Resting Place of World War II Aircraft - 18/01/2020

Video Included

A team of scientists and archaeological explorers relocated and documented the site of a Grumman TBF Avenger off Oahu, Hawaii 77 years after it was lost. The site is believed to be associated with three US servicemen missing in action from World War II. Members of Project Recover, private research vessel Petrel and the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) used state-of-the-art technology to image the deepwater site in unprecedented detail.

Catastrophic Collision

On 11 October 1942, three US TBF Avenger aircraft from squadron VT-3 collided during a training flight off Naval Air Station Kaneohe, now Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Two of the aircraft crashed into the water immediately at the time of the incident. All six crew members of these two aircraft were killed and remain missing in action. The crew of the third plane bailed out successfully and were rescued. 


The site was first discovered in 1999 by researchers from HURL while conducting a deepwater biological survey. The largely intact aircraft was filmed by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) as it passed by. A second site consisting of unidentifiable debris was also recorded 600 metres (2,000 feet) away. The aircraft site was briefly revisited in 2013 by the University of Hawaii's Pisces V manned submersible during an unrelated project in the area.

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Last updated: 28/11/2020