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P-MAN XVII Update # 13 - The BentProp nest gets emptier, but DPAA is ready to rock.

11 April 2015

Well, we're quite the empty nesters now. BentProp is down to Joe, Pat, DOB, Jennifer and Flip. Dan Friedkin left yesterday afternoon after three days of using the Navigator to view sandy bottom, coral patches, basalt rock and not much else. With the Navigator, we did area searches, and looking at two points that were 100 meters apart. Once on the first target, with the Navigator we could swim out on a heading, pick up the next target.

The remaining Scripps and UDEL team members left at 0130 that morning after a couple of days of packing out their own gear. And they had a lot of it. On their last day of imaging the ocean bottom, they found what they thought was a very likely candidate for a B-24. The last one to be found in Palau.


Side-Scan Sonar image slice. Photo by Megan Cimino

Unfortunately, it turned out to be coral out on the sandy bottom. Drat.

We have returned to our roots. No technology, no swarms of folks. Just a few people searching. We've searched with our eyeballs transition zones between the coral island walls and the ocean bottom in case anything is hiding in there, like the Hellcat we found last year. We did see a ship, some boat steering linkages, fish farm boxes and not much else.

DPAA (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) showed up the night of the 10th. This is the official organization that will do the recoveries of the aircraft crash sites and if there are remains, bring them home. Then they will attempt to identify the individuals and return them to their families. Today, the 11th, we showed them around the new Avenger crash site we found. Tomorrow, the 12th, Pat will show them last year's sites: the Hellcat and another Avenger.

While Pat is doing that, DOB, Jennifer and I will travel with Joe up north a little ways and meet up with a Palauan who knows where an airplane is. You might remember last year, on our last day, Charlie's cousin took us out to where he found an airplane. However, he could not find it that day. Well, he's willing to try again and we're willing to go with him.

Tonight we had a farewell dinner with the Stockbridge students. They fly out at 0430 tomorrow. They're a great group of kids, doing great things. And a great couple of teachers who are really helping these students have a foundation for a stellar future.

So here are some photos from the past few days.


Shrubbery at Neco


Jennifer with hi-tech glasses


The remaining team members with Scripps Swag: Joe, Dan O'Brien,
Jennifer, Pat, Flip, and Dan Friedkin


Pat


Dan F. with the Navigator


Joe


Ship stuff, I think


Cool coral growth


Jeremy and Philip, and a crazy guy in the middle, joined us on the boat


Pat briefing DPAA


Murky even with DPAA present


A little better viz, away from the main wreckage site

Tomorrow we'll be working with DPAA and with a Palauan who has a sighting report. Should be interesting if everything pans out.

- Flip Colmer

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