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Missing Air Crew Project, Yap Island Search Trip, October 2005


Patrick & Cherie Ranfranz searching for crash sites on Yap, October 2005
We (Pat & Cherie Ranfranz) spent an exhausting week on Yap Island in October 2005 searching for the Coleman B-24. Although we did not find the Coleman B-24 on the first trip (Phase I) we came home feeling like we accomplished a lot during the trip. While on Yap we were going non-stop interviewing Yapese elders, hacking through jungles, crawling through mangrove swamps, and diving the waters around the Yap reef. We have posted the following pictures and information to help others learn more about our trip. We will be adding additional details, information, and movie clips as we find time over the next few weeks. Please keep watching the pages for updates. We collected a lot of data during the trip therefore; it will take a few weeks to post everything. Also, we have a lot of research to do to confirm and validate information we learned through our interviews and crash site surveys. For example, the wreckage we originally thought was possibly from the Coleman B-24 turned out to be wreckage from a F4U Corsair. This is by no means disappointing since we hope to provide other families with closure to their missing air crews.

In short, we plan to put all our energy into returning to Yap next year to locate the Coleman crew and continue our mission to document all American crash sites on Yap. Perhaps the extra time will help us organize resources to use side scanning sonar and underwater cameras. Please feel free to contact us if you can provide help or have a question. We can be reached at: pat@missingaircrew.com

Copyright Notice: All images and text on this website are protected by U.S. and International Copyright Law. No images or text should be copied, downloaded, transferred, or reproduced without the written consent of Patrick Ranfranz/MissingAirCrew.com Images. Please email Pat at: pat@missingaircrew.com

Description
The Coleman Crew:
Interviews with Yapese: One of the elements of our search was to seek out and interview Yapese eyewitnesses to the shoot downs. Eyewitness accounts are seldom completely accurate, but taken together, they can often synthesize into a coherent whole by verifying elements of the story that are correct.
  • Mark Loochaz (Possible witness to the Coleman Crew shoot down)
  • Alex Tretnoff (Possible witness to the Coleman Crew shoot down. Provided information to locate Hellcat #1 & #2 crash sites.)
  • Maria Golfar (Witness to the shoot down of a low level American fighter plane.)
  • Tilus Alphonso (Helped locate Hellcat #1 crash site and Corsair crash site.)
  • Louis Ruamoon (Helped locate Corsair crash site.)
American Crash Sites on Yap:
Japanese Crash Sites on Yap:
Yap Island Diving-Search

Yap Satellite Pictures:

The following satellite images show the Coleman crew crash site area. The assumed location of the crash site is "just off" the second channel (SE side of the island) clearly visible on the satellite pictures. This is the location Alex Tretnoff watched a 4-engine bomber sink after being shot down over the old runway:

Ikonos and QuickBird Images from: http://www.digitalglobe.com

Other Trip Pictures:

Article that does a good job describing life on Yap:

Yap Island—BANKING ON A TIMELESS PARADISE
(pdf file 62 KB)

Links to Yap trip related web sites
  • Mike Veitch from Big Blue Images & the Manta Ray Hotel went diving with us on three different days to document our diving on video and still pictures. Mike's web site is: http://www.bigblueimages.com


  • Jane & Carin
    Had a wondeful time meeting Jane & Carin and their parents while on Yap. The family has been sailing around the world for the last 1.5 years: Norio Matsushita, Jo-Anne, Carin, and Jane.

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