Explorers Looking for Shipwreck Find Plane

Crew parachuted off plane, hoped plane would crash in remote area
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2014 10:55 AM CDT
Explorers Looking for Shipwreck Find Plane
This June 27, 2014 underwater photo provided by Roger Pawlowski, shows the wreck of a U.S. Air Force C-45 that crashed into Lake Ontario in deep water off the coast of Oswego NY.   (AP Photo/Roger Pawlowski)

A trio of explorers on the hunt for sunken ships managed to solve a six-decade-old mystery—involving a plane. The group uncovered a US Air Force C-45 plane that crashed in the east end of Lake Ontario on its way to Griffiss Air Force Base near Rome, New York, on Sept. 11, 1952. As the Democrat and Chronicle and Rome Sentinel report, the plane's left engine began to fail; the five aboard decided to parachute out, with the pilot first putting the plane on autopilot in an attempt to crash it away from residential areas. But the plane, having lost nearly 1,000 pounds, gained altitude and took a slightly different course until its fuel ran out roughly 70 minutes later.

At around 11pm the plane was seen flying low near Oswego, with witnesses saying "a powerful light, like that of a searchlight, appeared for several seconds after the crash." A Coast Guard search began right away and was stopped two days later, without success. Enter Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski, and Roland Stevens, who have been scouring the Oswego end of Lake Ontario for ships for three years and found the plane "well beyond the mile offshore reported by a few eyewitnesses," notes Kennard. He tells the Daily News the 34-foot-long plane doesn’t look too bad—sonar images show it's missing its nose cone, a blade, and part of its body behind the left wing, and a windshield is broken. (Another discovery was recently made at the bottom of a Great Lake.)

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