Otay Lakes WWII plane salvage effort delayed again - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Otay Lakes WWII plane salvage effort delayed again

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A World War II dive bomber that crashed into a South Bay reservoir more than 65 years ago could spend one more water-logged night, after new delays cropped up Thursday to plague a recovery crew.

The Navy SB2C Helldiver was supposed to be pulled from the depths of Lower Otay Lake on Wednesday, but the operation was postponed due to delays in dredging, said Arian Collins, a spokesman for the San Diego Water Department.

On Thursday the recovery crew had to adjust where rigging would be placed on the plane because it was a different model of Helldiver than expected.

Collins said the plane might be floated late this afternoon, but most likely a crane would not lift it to shore until Friday.

Once it is finally freed, the Helldiver will be taken to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., where it will be restored and put on display.

The aircraft crashed into the reservoir during a training flight in 1945, settling in about 90 feet of water.

The two-person crew survived, but the wreck was largely forgotten until last year, when Duane Johnson, a local fisherman, spotted the outline of the plane on his fish finder.

The salvage operation is privately funded.

According to the National Naval Aviation Museum, there are only a handful of surviving examples of the more than 5,100 Helldivers manufactured during World War II.

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