WWII Aircraft Recovery Effort Continues

SB2C Helldiver Found 90 Feet Under In Otay Lakes

More than 65 years after it crashed in Otay Lakes, a vintage World War II aircraft could soon see daylight again.

Former Navy Capt. Bob Rasmussen is overseeing a project that he only dreamed of. He's the director of the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Fla.

"There are only three or four SB2C Helldivers in existence anywhere and this is one of them," said Rasmussen.

Thousands were made in World War II, but after the war, the Navy got rid of them.

The one that was at the bottom of Otay Lakes went down in 1945 after a practice run with the pilot and gunner safely swimming to shore.

The plane stayed on the bottom about 90 feet down until Dwayne Johnson found it on his fish finder.

"I'm glad I'm a part of it," said Johnson. "I'm glad I found it."

Mark Miller was one of the divers clearing the silt away with a dredging machine.

"I found some communication cables, a headset and some other stuff floating around," said Miller. "It's hard to see. It's zero visibility."

Brewer Crane of Lakeside is donating its services but it's also personal.

"My father flew in one of these aircraft in World War II, so I'm looking forward to seeing it come out," Scott Rhodes of Brewer Crane told 10News.

It will take another day or two just to clear away the silt.

If all goes according to plan, the plane should be back on the surface on Wednesday. The plane's ultimate destination will be at the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Fla.