|Pilot E. D. Frazar (survived) TX
Passenger TSgt Joseph M. Metz (survived) OH
Ditched May 28, 1945
Built by Curtiss. Assigned to the US Navy to VB-84 and used for training missions until early December 1944. Next assigned to VB-14. Assigned to pilot Frazar with regular gunner Robert Kofnovec.
On this mission, Frazar's regular gunner gave his seat to US Army TSgt Metz instead. Took off from on a practice training maneuvers at 1,500'. When pulling out of a practice dive bombing run, the engine quit and failed to restart. This Helldiver safely ditched into the Lower Otay Reservoir south east of San Diego and east of Chula Vista. Frazar and Army gunner Joseph Metz survived the water landing and swam a couple hundred yards to shore.
Remained underwater roughly 200 yards from shore in 85-90' of water. During February 2009, discovered by Duane Johnson and Curtis Howard using their fish finder. They reported the find to the US Navy.
During August 17-20, 2010 salvaged by A&T Recovery and park ranger divers. On August 18 the canopies were salvaged. On August 19 the Helldiver was raised and on August 20 towed ashore. The salvage operation was attended by Frazar's son.
The recovery of this aircraft was funded by Naval Aviation Museum Foundation with money bequeathed to the museum by Marlon Overholt, a World War II pilot and former volunteer at National Museum of Naval Aviation (NMNA).
Mark Miller (salvage diver) adds:
"I found some communication cables, a headset and some other stuff floating around," said Miller. "It's hard to see. It's zero visibility."
Transported to National Museum of Naval Aviation (NMNA) where it will be restored and eventually displayed.
Frazar (son of Frazar)
SOS "Prep work beginning to raise WWII plane from Otay Reservoir"
July 14, 2010
Eastlake "Lower Otay Reservoir will be closed to the public the week of August 16 – 22, 2010, to allow a salvage operation to recover a World War II dive bomber" Aug 7, 2010 (video)
SOS "Finding airplane tops any fish story for two San Diego anglers" Aug 16, 2010
SOS "Family members tour World War II Helldiver's crash and recovery site" Aug 17, 2010
SOS "Helldiver Airplane Dive Operation" Aug 17, 2010 (photos)
NBC "Helldiver Raised From the Deep" Aug 18, 2010 (video)
SOS "Helldiver plane to be raised Thursday" Aug 18, 2010
SOS "Raising of Helldiver plane gets delayed" Aug 19, 2010
YouTube "WWII Plane Lifted From Bottom of Calif Reservoir" Aug 20, 2010 (video)
Eastlake "World War II Navy Helldiver Bomber Airplane Raised in Otay Lakes Aug 20, 2010
NMNA - Helldiver Rising Page 1-3
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
June 29, 2019