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F6F-5 Hellcat Wreckage Located in the Yap Island Harbor
UPDATE: The wreckage we located in the Yap harbor during our September 2006 trip has been positively identified as wreckage from a F6F-5 Hellcat. Please see the comparison pictures below and more information at the following link: Read more. A number of people have donated their time to help identify the harbor wreckage including Mike Rawson with Rawson Restoration, Mark Noah with History Flight, Larry Webster and Taigh Ramey from Twin Beech who supplied many of the comparison pictures listed below. Thank you to everyone who has helped identify the wreckage pictures!
Prior to arriving on Yap in September 2006 we had a lot of solid information and research about the location of the Anthony B-24 that was shot down over Yap on August 10, 1944. We had high hopes of locating the Anthony B-24 during our 2006 trip. We were thrilled to locate wreckage of what we believed to be the Anthony B-24 on our first dive in the Yap harbor. Due to the location of the wreckage and the research we had compiled we were confident we had found the located of the Anthony B-24. However, upon returning home and consulting with aviation experts we have now determined that the wreckage is most definitely from a F6F-5 Hellcat and not from a B-24.
We spent over three days mapping out the crash site in water depths between 30-120 feet after locating the wreckage on our first day of diving in 2006. The wreckage is spread out over a large area with four main wreckage areas (rear fuselage, tail, cockpit area and a wing with flaps) and numerous smaller pieces. The wreckage area indicates that the plane hit the water hard and broke up upon impact. We photographed the wreckage in detail under water and also brought various smaller pieces to the surface to review for part numbers and details. The pieces that we brought to the surface were returned to the water as soon as we had an opportunity to examine and photograph the individual parts. Once again, all the data we recovered from the wreckage area indicated that the wreckage is from a F6F-5 Hellcat. Also, a number of historic aviation experts have agreed that the wreckage is from a F6F-5 Hellcat.
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