Three WWII aircraft found 76 years after intense Pacific battle

Project Recover

MYSTERY WIRE — Missing for 76 years, three US aircraft lost in a fierce World War II battle have been found in the Pacific Ocean.

An operation known as Project Recover centered its search efforts in the Truk Lagoon in Chuuk State, part of the Federated States of Micronesia. It’s the site of a WWII Japanese naval base, but it’s also known as a world-class diving destination.

The University of Delaware and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of the University of California, San Diego, cooperated as partners in the search. See the University of Delaware report:

READ: Long-lost aircraft: Project Recover locates three World War II aircraft, missing for 76 years

The effort also invoved the BentProp Project, a private organization of divers, aviators and historians dedicated to finding WWII service members missing in action in the South Pacific.

One lucky piece of information came from a U.S. serviceman — an airplane gunner in Operation Hailstone — who mentioned in a memoir that he saw one of the Dauntless dive bombers struck just as he was firing at a Japanese transport ship, which also sank. The historians quickly realized that pinpointing the location of that sunken ship could lead them to the wreckage of the lost bomber.

Project Recover historian Colin Colbourn

Additional information from Live Science:

READ: Wreckage of lost American WWII planes finally found, in a Pacific lagoon

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