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WWII Aircraft To Be Raised From Reservoir After 65 Years Underwater

UPDATE: The raising of the aircraft has been postponed until Thursday at 10 a.m.

A World War II dive bomber that crashed into a reservoir near Eastlake more than 65 years ago is scheduled to be raised from the depths today.

After it is freed from the muck at the bottom of Lower Otay Lake, the Navy SB2C Helldiver will be salvaged and taken to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., where it will be restored and put on display, according to the San Diego Water Department, which owns the reservoir.


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 was 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.