Friday, December 23, 2005

 

Diver finds warplane wreck

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News.com.au
By Jade Bilowol
December 21, 2005

A MYSTERY warplane wreck has been found in a watery grave off the tip of far north Queensland.

Diver and underwater filmmaker Ben Cropp today said he discovered the wreck under 6m of water "about half a mile" off the tip of Cape York last month.

The wreck, that took up to 10 passengers to their deaths during World War II, was either an B24 Liberator bomber, a B17 Fortress or even a Japanese Emily flying boat, Mr Cropp said.

Mr Cropp said he was determined return to the site, near Albany Passage, next year to unravel the mystery.

"It's intriguing – there were no survivors, unless it was a Japanese plane and they would want to sneak away," Mr Cropp said.

"I'll identify it by counting the pistons, and they should still be intact, or by finding the name of the engine on the cowling."

He found the wing tip and three engines of the war plane, as well as its coral-covered fuselage, while filming the documentary The Silent Warriors.

"It is a huge, huge bomber – it has a wing span of more than 30m," he said.

"I would say it is the largest plane to crash in Australia. There would be others of the same size but there hasn't been a larger one to crash on land or in the sea here."

However, he doubted any human remains would be recovered from the wreck.

"The sea just eats up everything," Mr Cropp said.

He said the discovery was one of 231 warplane wrecks that crashed in the far north Queensland region during World War II.

Mr Cropp believed the plane crashed because it ran out of fuel.


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