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The extraordinary story of the wreck B17 from the island of Vis

An underwater photographer from the UK, has helped solve the mystery of a wartime tragedy 74 years ago. Steve Jones dived nearly 70 metres into the Adriatic Sea to take pictures of the wreckage of an American bomber from World War II. He didn’t even anticipate where the shot he captured would lead. The photo
Published: July 30, 2018 - 18:13
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:06
The extraordinary story of the wreck B17 from the island of Vis

An underwater photographer from the UK, has helped solve the mystery of a wartime tragedy 74 years ago. Steve Jones dived nearly 70 metres into the Adriatic Sea to take pictures of the wreckage of an American bomber from World War II. He didn’t even anticipate where the shot he captured would lead.

The photo taken by Jones came out so well that it was recognised in last year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year competition, and was subsequently published in a number of magazines and on a number of websites and web portals.

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One of the articles describing the photo mentioned that the body of the co-pilot, US Army Second Lieutenant Ernest Vienneau, was still in the wreckage. It was a stroke of luck that one of the publications in the USA, was read by a friend of Vienneau’s family, who informed everyone close to the victim.

It turned out that the family never found out what happened to the young pilot whose plane was shot down in 1944 by anti-aircraft defences while flying over the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Today, the bomber rests at the bottom of the Adriatic Sea, where it is preserved in excellent condition as a wreck.

[blockquote style=”2″]”I was stunned when the competition organisers passed on a message from Ernest’s nephew, Robert Vienneau, who tried to track me down after their friend recognised the unusual name in the magazine. I have since been in touch with Ernest’s family.” – said Steve Jones, author of the photo[/blockquote].

The British photographer was diving with a Croatian instructor near the island of Vis, in September 2016. Even today, he remembers vividly when he first saw the wreckage of the downed B-17 bomber, nicknamed the Flying Fortress.

[blockquote style=”2″]”The plane was preserved in remarkable condition. It looked like it had just landed,” Jones recalls[/blockquote].

It turns out that the body of the co-pilot remained inside the plane, as the crew failed to pull him out before the plane filled with water and sank. Discussions are now under way and efforts are being made to retrieve Ernest Vienneau’s remains so that he can have a funeral with honours in his home town.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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About author

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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