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Evan Kovacs Pictures from July 2010 Yap Island Search Trip


Left to right: Evan Kovacs, Maryann Kovacs, Matt Weeks, Sarah Weeks, Patrick Ranfranz, Cherie Ranfranz and Genna Ranfranz. Narita, Japan airport on the way to Yap Island in July 2010.

In July 2010 we were joined on our Yap Island search trip by a deep water search team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The History Flight Organization sponsored the team to help us search for my uncle's plane and others in the deep water off the reef of Yap. It was a pleasure to have Evan Kovacs and Matt Weeks on the trip. Evan was joined on the trip by his significant other, Maryann and Matt was joined by his wife Sarah. I first met Evan at the 2009 Our World Underwater dive show in Chicago when I was there to present my Missing Air Crew Project. Cherie and I were working the Yap Visitor's Bureau booth at the show when Evan stopped by to talk about my Missing Air Crew Project. Evan took an immediate interest in my quest to find my uncle and volunteered to help. I was very fortunate to have the History Flight Organization offer to sponsor Evan's team.

On the first day on Yap the Woods Hole group started opening up all their gear to get things tested so they could begin their deep water searching. However, within the first hour we realized we had a problem. They had expected an extra 500 feet of cable for the sonar unit owned by the History Flight Organization but it did not arrive, therefore, they were now limited to searching in water under 500 feet. This was a heartbreaking moment for me since it meant we likely could not search for my uncle's plane off the SE coast. We believe my uncle's B-24 is in water close to or deeper than 500 feet. We made a decision to use the resources we had to search for the Anthony B-24 that crashed near the harbor entrance since we believe it is likely in water under 500 feet. The Woods Hole team re-focused from my uncle's crash site to the Anthony crash site as of that moment and spent the rest of the trip searching for the Anthony B-24. It was disappointing to know that we would not be searching for my uncle's plane after so many months of thinking we had the resources and team in place to finally find the missing plane. I tried to temper my disappointment by focusing on finding the Anthony B-24 and knowing that it was the right decision with the resources we had available. Without the extra 500 feet of sonar cable we likely did not have a good opportunity to find my uncle's plane. It will have to be found another year!

Evan and Matt were truly amazing throughout the entire trip. They worked hard every day and spent numerous hours out in the dive boats off the Yap harbor entrance trying to find the Anthony B-24 that was shot down on August 10, 1944. They used all their available resources including the sonar, underwater vehicles and Evan's deep diving using his self-designed re-breather. They located a lot of bombs and other war wreckage but did not locate a plane. Evan went on a number of dives over 300 feet that took 3-5 hours to complete.

Evan is one of those genius types that you only meet a few times in a lifetime. He has the ability to process information from any situation and find creative solutions. Watching Evan dive with his equipment was simply amazing. If anyone is going to find my uncle's plane in the future it will be Evan. He has all the skills and dedication-all we need is the right equipment. Evan and Matt took a lot of video and pictures on their dives off the second channel searching for the Anthony B-24 as well as 3D video footage of the Ens. Howard Holding wreckage in the Yap harbor. Click the links below to view pictures of the items Evan's group found off the Yap harbor in July 2010. Many of the items were Japanese war materials dumped after the war and American bombs that missed the island and landed in the water. We are still working on identifying some of the items. I will post video clips soon.

Please feel free to send comments and questions to Pat Ranfranz: pat@missingaircrew.com

Select One:
Searching off the Yap Harbor July 2010, 1
Searching off the Yap Harbor July 2010, 2
Searching off the Yap Harbor July 2010, 3

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