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WWII Dive Bomber Lifted Out Of Lower Otay Lake

A World War II-era dive bomber that rested for decades in Lower Otay Lake was lifted out of the water today, bringing a week-long recovery effort nearly to a close.

The Navy SB2C Helldiver, which crashed into the reservoir during a training flight 65 years ago, was held above the surface by a crane for water draining purposes, and was expected to be swung over onto land by late afternoon, said Taras Lyssenko of A&T Recovery.

Work to bring the aircraft to the surface was slowed by a number of problems, including a city of San Diego diver who nearly ran out of air on Thursday.

Once it is finally brought to shore, the Helldiver will be disassembled and taken to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., where it will be restored and put on display.

The aircraft crashed into the reservoir during a training flight in 1945, settling in about 90 feet of water.

The two-person crew survived, but the wreck was largely forgotten until last year, when Duane Johnson, a local fisherman, spotted the outline of the plane on his fish finder.

The salvage operation is privately funded.

According to the National Naval Aviation Museum, there are only a handful of surviving examples of the more than 5,100 Helldivers manufactured during World War II.

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