I wonder if NUMA should get involved....from Sunday's Newspaper <Sept
WWII aircraft examined in Duck River By Brian Mosely The
NORMANDY, Tenn. Enormous sections of a World War II aircraft
that has rested on the bottom of the Duck River in Normandy for more
than 60 years have been uncovered and measured by Air Force and Navy
But after Thursday's examination of the vintage wreckage, there
are now more questions than answers over exactly what type of warplane
is sitting on the river bed.
Normandy Mayor Larry Nee mentioned the mystery plane in March of
last year. At the time there were only two pieces of the craft visible,
both of them on the shoreline.
The first section of the fuselage that was noticeable last year is
embedded in the banks of the river under the bridge build by TVA in
1971. The piece was exposed after a flood in 1995 washed soil away from
the 15 foot section.
But more of the piece buried was being dug up on Thursday.
Another section that was tangled in limbs some 100 yards up river was
removed from the area sometime last year.
But now, three large sections of an aircraft fuselage have been
revealed, along with brackets and pieces of cable recovered from the
bottom of the river, which may help historians identify the plane.
Navy Commander Frank Moulds, who is stationed at Arnold Engineering
Development Center, says he's always been interested in aircraft.
But when he heard about the crash site in Normandy along the river, he
took the opportunity to come out and take a look at it. He
researched what few records there were of the time period and discovered
there were as many as 50 military crash sites scattered all over
Bedford, Coffee and Franklin counties.
"William-Northern Field and the base at Arnold had a huge number of
aircraft, and there were many records of crashes," Moulds said.
It's the commander's theory that the plane resting on the
river bottom is a B-25 Mitchell Bomber that went down in 1943. The
problem is that when investigators of the time looked into the crashes,
they weren't very specific about where the planes fell.
That's why he and Air Force aircraft maintenance personnel from
AEDC were working to clean off years of mud and muck to see if there is
anything that could identify the craft.
"We're looking for windows that a B-25 might have had,
components that might help identify it." Moulds said it's a big
mystery right now to figure out what plane they are looking at.
"We're finding too much metal for a B-25 ... it had a wingspan of
over 67 feet and 55 feet long." But other components discovered at least
show the manufacturers name: Boeing, along with serial numbers. Some
parts made by different companies were used on various aircraft and it
is at least one piece of the puzzle.
The main task on Thursday was to take measurements of the pieces on
the river bottom and find a characteristic to compare to World War II
aircraft on display in museums.
Air Force personnel took to the river and began scrubbing and
measuring the fuselage, with one section extending 37 feet long.
Underwater photos were taken as well, and several pieces were brought up
from the Duck River.
Tommy Allen of Tullahoma is a local historian that became interested
in the crash site after speaking with Nee. The pair got together with
Moulds to try to learn what the aircraft pieces went to. Allen's
research centered around all the crashes from William-Northern Field
during that time period and he uncovered some 150 incidents, some of
which were in Bell Buckle and Shelbyville.
"If we can identify the plane, we can get the whole
accident report," Allen said.
After about two hours of work, Moulds admitted that there was much
more aircraft in the river than was first believed.
"There seems to be more aircraft components that we have for our
theories," the Navy commander said. "We've got 93 feet of airplane
... it's definitely an aircraft. Every component we have found is
easily identifiable ... but the type of aircraft, we still don't
Moulds says that the next step is to let aircraft museums examine
the pieces recovered to help determine what kind of plane they belonged
"It's going to be interesting to see where this goes."
The Associated Press Air Force and Navy personnel worked Thursday to
uncover a World War II era aircraft which has been resting on the bottom
of the Duck River in Normandy, Tenn., for over 60 years.
I just thought I'd throw this out there for everyone to read. Take it
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