Wet Wings

In 1999 I was lucky enough to dive my first airplane wreck underwater. Luckily, it was one of the most fascinating airplanes of the Second World War, a 4-engines B17 flying fortress, which is extremely well preserved. This dive and in particular the beautiful wreck, hooked me for many year to come to the worldwide exploration of underwater aviation.In the following 20 odd years, i was lucky to dive and explore hundreds os wrecks with a few of them being airplane wrecks.

As time progressed, I started to develop a special interest and a growing passion to photographing and documenting these delicate wrecks underwater in warm, cold, dark or extremely challenging locations around the globe. The stories of these wrecks are not always well known. Some are still a mystery. Others tell the stories of heroic air combats or defence of populations or armies in dark days of wars.

Whether the cause of the crash is an accident or shooting, diving on these silent beasts, keeps your imagination at the limit. The respect and admiration to the brave pilots cannot be described in simple words. Enjoy the my growing collection of aircraft wrecks and please get in touch if you want more information.

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Airplane Wrecks From
Around the World

Arado AR196, Heraklia Island, near Naxos Island, Greece

Location: Heraklia Island, near Naxos island, Greece

History: On September 17, 1943 this specific Arado 196 went on a mission to protect a convoy consisting of three ships (UJ 2104, Paula and Pluto) on their way from Piraeus to Rhodes.

Near Naxos, British Beaufighters attacked the convoy and the Arado was damaged and had to perform a controlled ditching at sea.
The crew was reported as “rescued”.
The convoy continued on its way to Rodos, but north of Astypalaia, they were attacked again, this time by allied destroyers.
The two cargo ships sunk, and UJ 2104 was badly damaged.
Approximately 60 survivors, including the crew of the Arado, managed to reach Astypalaia, which was under Italian control.
The survivors of the convoy were transferred to the British shortly after and remained POW until 1948.
 The wreck was found by Greek fishermen in 1982 at a depth of 91m and was moved in a bay of the island Herakleia.
Acclaimed researcher Manolis Bardanis (www.naxosdiving.com) is credited with a detailed research on this wreck’s history, in cooperation with other historians.

Diving: Diving this 11m deep wreck, located a few nautical miles off the island of Naxos, is fairly easy. The best time to access this wreck is the summer time, with an average water temperature of 22C making this dive long and pleasant.

Best diving arrangements: www.bluefindivers.gr 

B17 The flying fortress, Corsica, France

Location: Calvi Citadelle, Calvi, Corsica, France

History: The wreck of the B17 plane is one of the legendary wrecks along the Corsican shores.

‘The Flying Fortress’, this 32m wingspan over 22m length American Bomber had 4 engines and 13 machine-guns; it could cover up to 3200 km on a single trip. This very one, skippered by Lieutenant Charplik, is one of 4750 lost during WWII…

On the 14th of February 1944, it takes off with 10 men aboard en route to bomb out the railway system in Verona, Italy; a squadron of German Messerschmitt 109 planes engages combat on the way.

Seriously damaged by the fight, it lost 3 machine guns and changed its course for Calvi, with only 2 engines running. Eventually it is forced to a sea-landing and only 6 members of crew are rescued.

Diving: Today the wreck rests 27 meters down, on a sandy bottom, at the foot of the old city of Calvi. As you descend onto the plane, a clear picture of its massive size emerges: it lies flat with the two wings and the 4 engines still attached, in good conditions. The tail has disappeared, providing a way to look at the inside of the cabin, along with the cockpit, still intact with the instruments and the pilot seats! Check out the engines, though a few parts and blades have been removed by metal scrappers, or just damaged and lost on impact…

Lots of marine life can be found all around the wreck, with colourful sponges, congressman eels, Grouper wrasses , parrot fish, octopuses and more.

Best diving arrangements: Any dive centre in Calvi.

Beechcraft King Air, Greece

Location: Palaia Fokaia, Greece

History: 24 July 1985, afternoon hours … The Beechcraft King Air A90 RU-21A aircraft made a forced landing off the gulf of Anavyssos. The aircraft belonged to the US Army and was flying in formation with three other aircraft when it suffered mechanical damage.

It had left Germany, with a final destination in Israel, via Aviano (Italy) and Elliniko (Greece). It was equipped with anti-submarine warfare and tracking technology.

Its crew consisted of three members and consisted of the captain, the co-pilot and a radio operator.

The passengers were rescued from the nearby E / G Naia ship that sailed close to the Fleves Islands. The occupants got off the plane and remained on its fuselage, while it was sinking.

The shipwrecks were collected by a rescue boat of E / G Naia. They did not provide information, while one was carrying a suitcase in handcuffs.

Upon arrival at the port of Piraeus, staff from the US Embassy received them immediately. Investigations were immediately launched to locate the sunken plane and to retrieve its equipment and parts. Since then the event has been declassified.

Until the aircraft was accidentally discovered in the bay of Anavyssos and at a relatively close distance from the coast. It is alleged that the trawlers carried it with their nets to the place where it is now.

Diving:  The location of the sunken aircraft is difficult to find by someone who does not know exactly the morphology of the bottom.It lies upside down, slightly resting on a piece of dry land. Its tail is missing and has not been found. One of its engines is located 50 meters to the open, while the fate of the other is ignored. The debris is scattered around, within a radius of at least 50 meters, maybe even more.

Best diving arrangements: www.scubalife.gr

Bristol Beaufighter, Malta

Location: Approx. 900 m offshore St. Julian’s Point in Sliema, Malta.

History: Bristol Beaufighter was built by Bristol Aeroplane Company and it served in Royal Air Force.

The plane was a twin-engine two-seat heavy fighter, about 12.6 m in length with 17.6 m wingspan.

On 17th March 1943 soon after takeoff, this Beaufighter experienced mechanical problems, and the crew had to ditch the plane in the sea. Both the pilot and the observer survived.

Diving: This is a boat dive for experienced divers. The airplane wreck lies upside down at a depth of 38 m on sandy seabed. Most of the plane is buried in the sand, the wings and the main fuselage are quite intact, both undercarriage frames with shredded tyres stick out behind the radial engines, and port side propeller still attached to the engine.

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Bristol Beaufighter, Greece

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Bristol Bleinham, Malta

Location: Located about 500 m off Xrobb l-Ghagin on the east coast of Malta.

History: Blenheim was built by Bristol Aeroplane Company and served in British Royal Air Force. The plane was a twin-engine light bomber aircraft that typically carried a crew of three, about 13 m in length with 17.2 m wingspan.

On 13th December 1941 on a mission to Kefalonia in Greece, this Blenheim bomber was attacked en route by an Italian enemy aircraft damaging its port engine.

The Blenheim turned back to Malta where the pilot had to ditch the plane in the sea. The crew survived with minor injuries.

Diving: This is a deep boat dive for experienced divers with sometimes strong currents. The airplane wreck lies upright at a depth of 42 m on a seabed of sand and small reefs.

The bomber’s wings and radial engines are mostly intact; starboard engine still has a bent propeller but port engine propeller is missing. The cockpit cover is also missing, and the rear fuselage has broken off and lies a few metres away, in front of the main plane wreckage, upside down and mostly buried in sand. Originally there was a pilot’s seat too but it has been taken away.

Best diving arrangements: www.divemed.com

Candair, Corsica, France

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Cobra Helicopter, Aqaba, Jordan

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Grunman Corsair, Big Island, Hawaii

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Dornier Do24, Kritiansand, Norway

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Dornier Do26, Narvik, Norway

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Fiat BR20 Cicogna ,Italy

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Focke Wulf FW200 C4 Condor Norway

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Hawker Siddley SH-748, UK

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Heinkel He 111 Corsica France

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Hellcat France

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Hercules Jordan

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Junker 52 Norway

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Junker 88 France

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Messerschmitt BF 109 Crete Greece

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Messerschmitt BF 109 France

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Neptune Lockhid Malta

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P38 La Ciotat, France

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P47 Thunderbolt Corsica France

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P51 Mustang France

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Partenavia P68B _Victor_ Stoney Cove UK

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Sea King helicopter, Vobster UK

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Savoia Merchetti SM79

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Stuka Ju87 Croatia

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Tristar Jordan

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Viscount Vickers Stoney Cove UK

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Wessex Helicopter Stoney Cove UK

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Wildcat, France

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