11 Jun 2009

US team to recover rare WW2 bomber off Marshalls

7:20 pm on 11 June 2009

An American team is preparing to recover one of two US Navy TBD Devastator bomber planes submerged since the Second World War battles in the Marshall Islands.

The planes, which were relatively intact, were ditched in Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands during a U.S. attack on Japanese forces in the Marshall Islands in early 1942.

They are the only surviving TBD Torpedo bombers of the 129 originally built by the U.S. military.

A retired US air force officer, Van Hunn, is heading the group from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

The group has flown in engineering and marine archaeology experts to assess options for safely recovering one of the two TBD Devastator bombers.

It aims to produce a detailed recovery plan for review by the Marshall Islands Historic Preservation Office and the U.S. Navy later this year.

Mr Hunn says there is not one of these planes above water or in a museum anywhere.