Expedition seeks to raise B-25 bomber from depths of Lake Murray - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Expedition seeks to raise B-25 bomber from depths of Lake Murray

(Lexington) Sept. 13, 2005 - About two miles from the Lake Murray dam, an effort is underway to raise an airplane that crashed over 60 years ago during a training run.

Dr. Robert Siegler is the expedition leader, "It's rough. There are white caps on the lake. The wind is noticeably stronger than it was yesterday."

Not an optimum day to lift a World War II vintange bomber from the depths of Lake Murray, but as Bob Siegler looks at the barge and divers prepare to do the job, he knows nothing about this project is ideal,  "Sixty-year-old airplane that has crashed, we don't know for sure what condition it's in, there's a possibility that when we lift it, it could come apart and go back to the bottom."

The bottom is 150 feet down, with next to zero visibilty.

According to local lore, as many as 22 of the planes crashed into Lake Murray. Siegler says the number is more like five, "Of the five B-25 crashes, three involved deaths, two involved no injuries at all."

The plane the team is currently trying to retrieve was one that crashed with no fatalities, "We know the name, ranks and serial numbers of all five who survived the crash. One of those men is still alive."

It's not the first B-25 pulled out of South Carolina waters. Another was recovered in 1984 from Lake Greenwood.

Dr. Seigler says that they made some suprising discoveries on that plane, "When they pulled it out of the the water, it still had coffee in the thermos. I wouldn't want to drink it."

It's currently in a hanger at Columbia's Owens Field.

There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to pulling an airplane out of the water. One of them is the weather.

So when can you expect to see the B-25? Crews hope sometime with in the next couple of days.

Siegler started this project when he was in his early 30's, and he's almost 50 now, "It's been a long project and I'm really hoping to see it come to a successful conclusion."

But according to the historian, only time will tell.

Reported by Kara Gormley

Posted 6:35pm by Chantelle Janelle

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