B-25 bomber yields rare period finds

(Irmo) Sept. 20, 2005 - Since the B-25 bomber was pulled up last night, crews have found five machine guns and a World War II bomber jacket.

World War II vet Everett Bullard remembers the time, "They were some of the happiest days of my life, when I was young and stupid."

Ten-year-old Fatema is among the crowd gathered to see the World War II bomber raised from the depths of Lake Murray after crashing more than half a century ago, "I can see where the cockpit is, and it's all torn, all muddy inside."

The recovery crew say the plane was so banged up during the crash landing half a century ago, it lost an engine. Dr. Bob Siegler says, "The right engine came off when it hit the water 62 years ago. That is somewhere in Lake Murray. Where, we don't know."

Dr. Siegler is leading the recovery expedition, "We're finding a lot of original equipment, some things we think are one of a kind in the world."

And the crew still isn't satisfied. Divers want to go back in the lake to try to find a propeller that fell off the plane.

On a tarp full of artifacts, the old flight instruments are still legible. The wind direction the day the plane crashed is still recorded, says Dr. Siegler, "his heading was 89 degrees and the airspeed 120 knotts."

On the outside of the plane, women's names, "Betty," "Janine," "Irene," all etched in the metal. Dr. Siegler reads the graffiti, "Right here is "193," what appears to be a seven, probably somebody's graduating class."

Seeing the plane sitting on dry land has been Sielger's dream for over a decade, and like many men who go down in history, he listened to the people who told him it couldn't be done and did it anyway, "A lot of people are interested. A lot of people have been coming up to say thank you. It makes you feel good."

Reported by Kara Gormley

Posted 6:28pm by Chantelle Janelle