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PB4Y-2 Privateer in Lake Washington

The Privateer entered Navy service during the late summer of 1944. VPB-118 and VPB-119 were the first Fleet squadrons to equip with the Privateer. The first overseas deployment began on January 6, 1945, when VPB-118 left for operations in the Marianas. By the end of the war, thirteen Navy squadrons were equipped with Privateers, and a further five squadrons had a combination of Privateers and Liberators flying with them.

This aircraft was a PB4Y-2 Navy Patrol Bomber stationed at Sand Point at the time of the crash. This Privateer, #59695 now rests in over 130 feet of water. Little is known about the incident that resulted in this crash. The incident occurred on August 26, 1956, shortly after takeoff from Sand Point Naval Air Station. News reports of the time indicate the 11 naval reservists on board swam to safety but the plane sank within five minutes.

The PB4Y-2 now rests on its landing gear. The rear gun turret as well as the forward (nose) turret is intact. On the fuselage, the two top turrets are missing. The Cockpit area is in excellent condition. The two inboard engines are missing. This occurred when the Navy attempted to lift the bomber out of the water. The skin is in very good condition with minor deterioration on the horizontal stabilizers.

Weighing in at 64,000 pounds the Privateer has a 110-foot wing span. Fifty caliber machine guns are mounted in the nose, tail, and mid fuselage areas. The aircraft can carry 12,800 pounds of bombs.  The above examples were converted to fight forest fires.

PB4Y-2 Privateer Image Gallery


This aircraft is quite deep and images are less than optimal, however the find has been fully documented.


In this side scan image you can see the large engines protruding from the leading edge of the wing. Missing are the two inboard engines.
Looking in through the window, the cockpit and instruments are still present. Some salvage on this aircraft has occurred but all the basic armament is intact.
Here is a close-up of the cockpit rudder. There is little corrosion due to the cold fresh water environment.
This is the nose of the Privateer. The glass canopy has been broken.

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