WWII divebomber found in coastal forest

WWII divebomber found in coastal forest

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by David Krough & Scott Burton

kgw.com

Posted on December 20, 2010 at 3:35 PM

TILLAMOOK, Ore. -- A World War II-era U.S. Navy plane has been uncovered in a forest along the Oregon Coast.

Loggers made the discovery on private property near Rockaway Beach earlier this week.

Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson said the Pentagon was concerned about possible remains of two veterans whose families would need to be notified.

According to Anderson, the aircraft was discovered on private logging land about a half mile inland between the towns of Wheeler and Rockaway beach. 

"It makes you realize what was happening during that time period. It's almost like a snapshot of what was going on during the second world war," said Christian Gurling of the Tillamook Air Museum.  Gurling believes the plane was likely flying from Naval Air Station Astoria which served as a landing point for pilots based on air craft carriers off the Oregon coast. As a divebombing aircraft, Gurling says the Helldiver was used to defend against Japanese submarines.

"The model that they found up there, the dash five, they only built 970 of those and the rest of the 2500 were all cancelled because the war was coming to an end," explained Gurling.

Photos: WWII plane crash

Crews saw a wing, tail section, landing gear and debris from the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver in a heavily wooded area, OSP reported. The debris field was spread out over about 200 yards.

OSP and defense department officials were concerned about preserving the site until their investigation could be finished. A bomb disposal team said there was no evidence of any explosives.

Investigators were looking into whether the plane crashed on a military mission or was later purchased by someone prior to the crash.

Officials from the Joint Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) in Honolulu and Navy Region Northwest were also investigating pending any human remains are found.

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