Mystery Down Below

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Friday, May 25, 2012 - 9:41am

Diver may have found WWII plane wreckage off the coast of Florida.

Divers from the United States Navy have set up shop off the coast of Jupiter, Florida.

They're exploring a plane wreck from World War II discovered by diver Randy Jordan.

"I really feel like, finally, we're going to find out who belonged to that airplane and if somebody is in it," Jordan said.

He stumbled upon the wreckage of a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver in December.

Instructed to not touch the tiny two-seater, all he could do was wonder.

"I was starting to lose hope we were going to find out too much about it. It's in 185 feet of water," Jordan said.

Two weeks ago, the Navy called to say they'd be coming with a team of divers and with archeologist Heather Brown.

"We're here to preserve the history and heritage of the Navy. This is one of the planes that helped fight World War II," Brown said.

Brown suspects that the plane was part of the many training missions conducted near South Florida.

But to find out for certain -- and whether anyone went down with the plane -- is to find the plane's records.

Divers unscrewed this corroded data plate from the plane's tail Thursday.

After 68 years underwater, it'll have to be inspected by a lab to see if numbers are still stamped in.

"Most of the other identification is painted on and won't survive underwater. This is our one really big chance to find an ID number on it," Brown said.

Also part of their goal is creating an action plan to preserve the site, given it's unlikely the plane can ever be moved.

The effects of time have corroded the metal.

"A generation from now, when no one is alive who was in that war, we'll still have keepsakes and sites from it," said Brown.

Brown said military records show that no one is missing from this particular area who could have been on-board.

The Navy plans to spend the rest of the week exploring the wreckage, but this could be the first of many trips to this particular crash site.
 

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