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Five World War II aircraft wrecks have been found in the Adriatic Sea

U.S. researchers from the University of Delaware have found five World War II aircraft wrecks in the Adriatic Sea. Five aircraft wrecks at the bottom of the Adriatic Sea A team of scientists involved in the search for missing U.S. aircraft has located the wrecks of five B-24 Liberator bomber planes that crashed in the
Published: November 4, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 01:29
Five World War II aircraft wrecks have been found in the Adriatic Sea

U.S. researchers from the University of Delaware have found five World War II aircraft wrecks in the Adriatic Sea.

Five aircraft wrecks at the bottom of the Adriatic Sea

A team of scientists involved in the search for missing U.S. aircraft has located the wrecks of five B-24 Liberator bomber planes that crashed in the Adriatic Sea. So far, three of the five aircraft have already been identified, linking the 23 missing airmen to them.

Researchers with AUV
Researchers preparing AUV

Locating these five World War II aircraft was possible thanks to underwater autonomous vehicles AUVs. These devices, thanks to installed sensors, scan the seafloor and collect data that could prove helpful in the search for the said Mark Moline, mission leader and professor at the University of Delaware.

Project Recover

Professor Moline is the co-founder of Project Recover. It is an organization that uses modern underwater technology in the The search for missing U.S. soldiers and military personnel. Its main goal is to locate more than 80,000 members of the U.S. armed forces who have gone missing as a result of hostilities around the world, starting with World War II.

Why the Adriatic? Because this is where the U.S. Army Air Corps suffered heavy losses. During World War II, many aircraft returning from missions were shot down by the Germans over the territory of then-Yugoslavia. Some crashed into the sea, and others had to make emergency landings, so the surrounding waters hide many aircraft wrecks.

Prior to the expedition, we conducted research and gathered historical documentation for as many potential losses in the area as we could identify. This process, aided by local information and DPAA researchers, proved crucial, as we were able to definitively identify several aircraft. All thanks to small details left in the historical record – explained Colin Colbourn assistant professor in the UD history department.

Aircraft wreckage found by Project Recover
Aircraft wreckage found at the bottom of the Adriatic Sea

In turn, Professor Mark Moline said it was a team effort that led to great discoveries.

While simply locating and documenting aircraft wrecks is extremely exciting, it is also important to remember that this is only the first step in a long process. The ultimate goal is to be able to return these lost heroes to their families Moline said.

For all Project Recover missions, international partnerships and assistance are essential. Tea Katunaric, an archaeologist from the University of Split, represented the Croatian side and supported the research team’s efforts. The American researchers also enlisted the help of Andi Marovic of Manta Divers, whose support helped identify two wrecks.

Photo: University of Delaware

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Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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