On 3 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.
The famous B 24 Liberator Bomber plane wreck in Togean Islands is a really special dive. The plane structure is fully intact. With it’s two machine guns, one on the top and one at the rear, sticking out of 70 years old sponge and coral. You can still see the tires, 4 engines, rudder and cockpit. Wing span is more then 20 meters and the wreck lies in around 20 meters of depth. The top is 14 Meters and at good visibility days the plane can be seen from the surface. The whole site is full of marine life and even the small reef near to the dive site is very interesting for photographers. Night diving here is a special experience too. The B 24 Liberator was on it’s way from Makassar in south Sulawesi to Morotai US Air base in 1945, when it suffered from an engine failure. In the following crash landing, on the sea water, non of the crew was seriously hurt. The plane was floating for a while, and the crew was evacuated, before it sunk to it’s final location. Come and enjoy one of the most loved dives in the Togean Islands!
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
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