In 1942 an American reconnaissance seaplane was on a routine patrol off the Canadian coast. Having landed in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence it was preparing for the return flight to its home base of Presque Isle, Maine. Rough weather capsized the aircraft on takeoff, trapping 5 of the 9-man crew inside when it sank. Now, Canadian divers are reporting they have possibly found the wreckage of the ship.
The government divers, who work for Parks Canada, announced Thursday that they came across the wreck while doing routine work near the village of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan in eastern Quebec. It has not yet been confirmed whether it is the lost plane.
The U.S. military considers the potential discovery a major find.
“It’s tremendously important because of the history, of the co-operation between the United States and Canada, not only during that time but up to the present day and in the future,” Joe Breen, the defense attache to the U.S. embassy in Canada, said Thursday.
The Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina was a twin-engine ship designed for long-range recon over water. They played vital roles in coastal defense in the Atlantic and were indispensable in the Pacific where most of the enemy’s movement was by sea. Finding this one would offer us the chance to recover a piece of our shared history with Canada. More importantly, it would offer us the chance to recover any remains of the crew (unlikely as it is that there are any to recover) and return them home.