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B24 Liberator - Indonesia


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The Consolidated B 24 Liberator rests, slightly tilted to the right on sandy bottom in 16 to 22 meters of water. It is 17 m long and 22 m wide. The plane is in good condition, the wings with one propeller and the tail still intact and the two barrels of the turret gun on top are still in place. You can swim round and actually look into the cockpit where you still see the instruments and seats. You can dive underneath the left wing and look at the wheel there which is totally bent with the large tyres resting flat on the ground. The tail is very impressive with the large side flange.

Since the dive site is close to a mangrove forest the visibility is generally not very good - when we dived we had about 12m which was considered good, sometimes visibility can be down to only 2 meters. You finish the dive over a small reef, we found some nudibranchs and shrimps, otherwise it is not that interesting.

A confidential ditching report by Lt. Henry Etheridge dated 3 May 1945 says the following (photos of the original report 1 / 2 / 3): "Our number one engine caught fire about one and a half hours from target, when at the northern tip of the gulf of Bone. We closed the cowl flap... (technical details) ... With these power settings the fuel supply would have been inadequate to return to base. The radio operator... (arranging ditching site) ...We decided to ditch the plane rather than to parachute because all these islands are heavily wooded with rough terrain... ...We passed over the landing site two times at about 2000 feet while all crew members were briefed on the proposed landing and last minute preparations were completed prior to setting the plane down. There was a 8-knot surface wind... (details of preparation, ditching of equipment and bombs and the positions of all men in the plane) ...All men wore winter flying equipment to act as padding against the shock of landing... ...Airspeed was 110 MPH, loosing altitude at a rate of 50-100 feet per minute. The power was held to within approx. 5 feet of the water.... ...The plane skidded an estimated 50 yards on water before coming to a stop. Every man was out of the plane within one minute... ...At this time medical attention was given to those with cuts and abrasions. As the plane was still afloat we were able to salvage and inflate six one-man life rafts... ...The plane was still afloat one and a half hours later when rescue was affected (a Catalina from the 13th Emergency Rescue Group picked them up)."

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