WWII Fighter Plane Recovered: BIG PIC

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AP Photo/Lake County News-Sun, Thomas Delany Jr
AP Photo/Lake County News-Sun, Thomas Delany Jr

Dec. 2, 2009 -- A World War II fighter plane was recovered from the depths of Lake Michigan, more than 60 years after it crashed during a training exercise.

Cranes lifted the F6F-3 Hellcat out of 250 feet of water in Waukegan, Ill., about 40 miles north of Chicago, on Tuesday.

The plane had been submerged since Lt. Walter Elcock, the pilot who survived the crash, was practicing landing on the U.S.S. Sable aircraft carrier on Jan. 5, 1945. As he was coming to the deck, Elcock recalled he brought the plane in too low, lost his lift and crashed into the water, according to an interview with the Daily Mail.

He is now 89 years old and lives in Atlanta.

The plane will eventually be displayed at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Florida.

This is the sixth Hellcat fighter plane that the U.S. Navy has pulled out of Lake Michigan. Most recently, the Douglas SBD Dauntless U.S. Navy plane was recovered from the lake in April.

Source: Associated Press

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