On 3 Rd May 1945, Sulawesi (then known as Celebes) and Borneo were under Japanese occupation during World War II. The 307th American Bomb Squadron was engaged in striking missions against these 2 locations. It was on one of these missions that this aircraft suffered engine failure and caught fire. As it was too far to return to base at Morotai Island, and the islands are densely covered in jungle – potentially dangerous to parachutists, the decision was made to crash land the plane in the sea at the Togean Islands in Tomini Bay.
All loose items were jettisoned on approach and, after skidding 50 meters, the plane came to a gliding halt on the sea’s surface. All 11 crew escaped from the plane in life rafts, with cuts and bruises, and made it to nearby Togean Island, just to the north. The craft, however, lost its nose turret and 3 propellers in the landing, and sank about 2 hours afterwards, thus becoming Togean Islands best wreck dive.
The plane, 17m long by 22m wide, lies upright on a flat sandy bed with its cockpit to the north west, its right wing touching the sea bed and its left wing slightly elevated.
The wreck is in excellent condition and no artifacts have been removed. The right wing still has its remaining propeller intact, and you can easily see the machine guns mounted on the rear of the aircraft. Peer through the windows and you can make out the parachute harnesses; take a look at the cockpit and you’ll see the captain’s and co-pilot’s chairs and all manner of electrical equipment, now forever silent but once alive with hurried life and death instructions from an historic time past.
The Liberator bomber is now the congregating center for hundreds of big eye Trevally, creating a never-ending circular wall of dazzling silver. The tail wings are refuge to some Lionfish and Batfish.
There are green tube sponges and barrel sponges, particularly at the rear of the aircraft. Some porous coral growth shows itself on the fuselage, and purple and yellow sea squirts and blue Acidians decorating the main wings.
Afternoon Dive at the Plane wreck. It was 4 o clock when we went down. The visibility was good. There is a mooring line next to the plane. With the three of us we swam around the top and proceeded to the back. The two machine guns sticking out. The sponge is very big and most likely as old as the plane is under water. Superb dive