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followup on Cape York Wreck

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:02 pm
by Justin Taylan
Dear all,

After reading the news articles about the wreck discovery at Cape York, I was interested, and hopeful that this could be the B-17F "Pluto" that is MIA.

With the assistance of Ben Cropp, the person who found it who shared his photos and video, we reviewed the images and I asked a number of wreck experts to comment on what they saw, specifically features like the landing gear, wing spar and engines. You can read the report here:

In my opinion, until more definitive proof is located, the exact identity of this wreck is unknown. At present, it appears to be a C-47 (or derivative type like DC-3 or C-49)

The good news was in the course of this news story, we have gotten in touch with former crew member, Joe Hirsh and the grandson of one member of the crew, Stanley A. Loewenberg. In addition, I had the chance to meet General Ramey's daughter in May.

All info on B-17F "Pluto" is listed on this page, including a google earth file of its know flight path and final radio call. ... 24384.html

Should any further news develop, hopefully we will hear about it. I hope this Cape York wreck is able to be positively ID'ed.


Re: B-17 "Pluto", lost off Northern Aust. Mar 26 1943,

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:23 pm
by PF
JPAC website portal for reporting potential recovery site ... =100&ind=3

Re: B-17 "Pluto", lost off Northern Aust. Mar 26 1943,

Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:48 pm
by GregAlliger
My Great Uncle was on board Pluto when it disappeared. I'm trying to do a biographical paper on him for school and for his sister, my grandmother. I'd like to get in touch with Joe Hirsh, who posted above. I would like to inquire about his part in the search efforts along with his experience at Port Moresby and 7-Mile Drome.


Re: B-17 "Pluto", lost off Northern Aust. Mar 26 1943,

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:32 am
by GordyB2
There appears to be a lack of a picture

I'll fix that

BTW, not to get all misty over Ben's finding, on examination of the underwater footage, I'd venture to say twin engine and a C-47. Peter and I have discussed this some time ago and feel though not a B-17F, it should be IDed as a number of those Gooney's went missing between Townsville/Cairns and Port Moresby


Re: B-17 "Pluto", lost off Northern Aust. Mar 26 1943,

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:59 pm
by Steve Birdsall
Just for the record, that photo shows 41-24543 "Pluto" with artwork by Ernie Vandal, not 41-24384. As far as I know, nobody has ever found a photo of 41-24384, although veterans certainly remember it as "Pluto". The artwork was on both sides of 41-24543's nose.


As shown elsewhere on Pacific Wrecks, Ernie Vandal painted a couple of Disney characters on 43rd Bomb Group B-17Fs - 41-24429 "Dumbo" and 41-24543 "Pluto" - but neither had the actual names painted on the nose.


Re: B-17 "Pluto", lost off Northern Aust. Mar 26 1943,

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:42 am
by Steve Birdsall
I'm sorry to say that I didn't look closely enough at Gordy's photo of "Pluto" or I would have noted the various differences between the artwork on that B-17F, and the artwork on the right side of the nose of 41-24543.


While quite similar, the artwork is not the same, and is probably not even by the same artist. So Gordy's photo shows the original "Pluto" that Joe Hirsh mentioned, and my two photos show the left and right sides of 41-24543, painted some time after the aircraft joined the 63rd Bomb Squadron in February 1943.

Either way, it looks like the name was never applied.

Re: B-17 "Pluto", lost off Northern Aust. Mar 26 1943,

Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:08 am
by massadaddy
Hi. I've just seen the documentary for the first time; very interesting. I used to fly based in Papua New Guinea and you could see lots of wartime wrecks.

Re: B-17 "Pluto", lost off Northern Aust. Mar 26 1943,

Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:15 am
by Steve Birdsall

This is the Robert Keatts crew with 41-24543 before the "Pluto" artwork was painted on the right side of the nose. I Dood It was originally with the 403rd Bomb Squadron, and I guess that's where she got this name.