The B-25c Mitchell Bomber was ditched on April 4th, 1943 and remained 55 Meters (150 feet of fresh water) below the surface of Lake Murray, SC for 60 years. This plane was ditched during training. Today, the plane is being preserved and put on display at the Southern Museum of Flight.
This project was headed by Dr. Robert Seigler, a pediatric intensivist from Greenville, SC. The plane is the third oldest of 130 left from the war. Dr. Seigler started looking for the plane over ten years ago. In 1992, he was working with the US Naval Reserve Sonar Unit when they located the exact position. With help from attorney John Hodge, they began the long process of obtaining salvage rights from South Carolina Electric and Gas, the owner of Lake Murray, as well as securing a quit-claim deed from the United Sates Air Force. Dr. Bill Vartorella coordinated many aspects of this effort as well as Gary Larkins of “The Air Pirates” who was brought in to supervise the salvage. The Lake Murray B-25 Rescue Project: September 10-24, 2005 is Flag 103 of The Explorer’s Club expeditions.
John Hodge, Dr. Bob Seigler, and Dr. Bill Vartorella were honored by receiving the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s most prestigious civilian award on May 21st, 2008 at the opening of an exhibit at the South Carolina State Museum. The “Catch of the Day” exhibit which ran through January, 2009.
The History Channel offers the show for sale on their web site.
Lead Divers: Chris Elmore and Heather Choat
Divers: Brian Armstrong, Michael Barnette, Billy Baxter, Joe Citelli, Gene Hobbs, Glen Hunt, Rob Maiker
We would also like to thank the following for their assistance: CA Graphics, D&J Rigging, Halcyon Manufacturing, Larry Ficker, Lake Murray Power Squadron, Nautilus Productions, Lake Murray SeaTow, Wateree Dive Center, Inc. Without their support of the divers, we never could have been wet. (hope we don’t miss anyone, it was a big project and we had a ton of help).