|During the summer of 1998 UAS and company
traveled to Labrador to locate a Boeing B-17 downed on a frozen lake
December 24th, 1947. In addition to
location analysis of the wreckage was performed to determine the
feasibility of recovery and restoration.
Dear FAMILY AND FRIENDS
You have not heard from me in awhile.
I have been in the backwoods of
Northwest Labrador looking for a B-17 W.W.II 4 engine bomber lost
during a forced landing on Dec. 24, 1947. The trip
was great! We found the submerged aircraft in 20
feet of frigid and fast moving water. We were able
to locate the aircraft even though it had moved over 10 miles from its
crash site on Dyke Lake in Labrador. The aircraft
floated on a chunk of ice during the spring ice break-up of 1948.
Skill, good equipment, great staff and
thorough research made this location and identification possible.
The area is breath taking. It’s
remoteness provided a beauty that I have seen only once before, the
Aleutian chain. It sterility from civilization tend
to cleanse the soul. There were 4 search personnel
and 5 project personnel. The project personnel were the same guys that
recovered the P-38 from Greenland; top-notch people and a pleasure to
work with. My team consisted of Crayton Fenn, Steve
Ladd, and Dal Neitzel. Dal is a video-photographer
and produces documentaries, but Crayton Fenn recruited him as an
additional side scan team member when he wasn’t otherwise busy.
The weather was not bad but often terrible.
Not cold but often freezing.
The wind was dead calm, (and the
mosquitoes ate you alive), but very gusty. You can figure out by now
that the weather changes more in this area than I have ever experienced
before. At night the Aurora Borealis was unable to
be described with words, it was mystical and primeval. I
shall never lose the images that night nor forget the spirit it
awakened inside me. I regret not recording the
sites on film or digital tape but something inside told me maybe it is
best not to attempt to record or recreate such an event.
We arrived on a Tuesday the 29 of July in
Labrador a place called Shefferville. This is
actually on Quebec but in Shefferville. We flew the
whole expedition in a W.W.II C-47 restored and owned by Don Brook,
Project manager. Once in Shefferville we reloaded
all the equipment into Dehavalian Otters, these are seaplanes.
Then we flew SE to Dyke lake and set up
camp at an old fishing camp no longer in use. This
is about 1 mile from the reported crash site of the B-17 on the frozen
lake – December 24th, 1947. By Labrador
law we hire two local guides. One is an Inuit
Eskimo named Don Mitsuk, great guy and a real pleasure to be around.
The other guide was Don’s 17-year-old
Labbie (Labaradorian) sidekick named Gary. They
fished for our meals and were a great amount of help, cooking, lifting,
and filling the role of local encyclopedia. They
were helpful in all manners.
We spent 8 days in locating and diving doing
video and stills photography to determine if this aircraft is
financially worthy of recovery for restoration. It
was a great trip and I will attach some images from the expedition.