The wreckage of three USAF bombers downed over Truk Lagoon during WW2 have been located by the charity Project Recover, the mission of which is to recover remains of US forces personnel missing in action in wartime.
The planes, two Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless dive-bombers and a Grumman TBM/F-1 Avenger torpedo-bomber, flew from the aircraft-carriers USS Enterprise and USS Intrepid for the last time during Operation Hailstone in 1944.
The Project Recover team, led by Dr Mark Moline of the University of Delaware, are now hoping that remains of the seven air-crew can be identified and recovered.
The wrecks lie at depths of 30-65m, at sites said to be far from those regularly visited by recreational divers in the Micronesian state of Chuuk.
From April 2018 Project Recover mounted four expeditions covering 27sq miles of Truk Lagoon, using a combination of side-scan sonar, scuba divers and ROVs. The discoveries were made on the third outing and documented on the most recent one last December.
Moline said that the planes had been flying at high speed when shot down and were no longer intact, the scattered debris field partially explaining why the wreckage had not been identified before.