By JACK STOREYROCKFORD, Mich. - A fuzzy image of a downed fighter aircraft at the bottom of Lake Superior from a diving company's side-scan sonar may furnish a partial answer to a missing plane story nearly 53-years-old.
Soo Evening News
Soo Evening News
In published reports, Great Lakes Diving Company of Rockford released an image of a fighter aircraft some historic speculators say could be the remains of an F-89 scrambled from Kinross Air Base in 1953 that disappeared under mysterious circumstances. (Kinross Air Base was later renamed Kincheloe Air Force Base.)
The very fuzzy image shows an aircraft with one wing missing in a field of indeterminate material. The image is too blurry to reveal anything more than the aircraft's general shape and configuration.
In a sketchy statement, the Rockford-based dive company said it is currently engaged in a “forensic investigation” of the aircraft, generally located on the Canadian side of the international boundary north of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior.
The company statement said its side-scan equipment also detected another object near the fighter wreck site, but did not further characterize that second find.
No independent confirmation of the aircraft discovery or its location were available.
The apparent find reportedly reignited discussion in Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) circles that the aircraft may be the same plane from Kinross that disappeared in 1953. Historic accounts indicate the F-89 was investigating an unidentified radar blip over eastern Lake Superior when the aircraft appeared to merge with the object before both disappeared from radar images. Neither the aircraft nor the missing pilot was ever found.
The all-but-forgotten aircraft disappearance was the subject of many years of speculation among fliers and UFO enthusiasts before the talk quieted with the passage of time. The underwater discovery appears to conflict with a 1968 report by Canadian prospectors who reportedly found parts from a high-performance military aircraft on Lake Superior's Ontario side.
The aircraft in the image appears to be mostly intact, except for the missing wing. The general shape of the aircraft closely resembles those from the last generation of propeller-driven fighters used late in World War II and the Korean War.
It also resembles early U.S. jet fighter aircraft built prior to the advent of the F-86 Fury, also used extensively in the Korean War.
The reproduced sonar image is not distinct enough to show a propeller on the mostly undamaged nose of the aircraft.
Nothing in the fuzzy image visually confirms that the aircraft with a missing wing is under water or at the bottom of Lake Superior.
The U.S. Air Force closed its investigation of the F-89 disappearance decades ago. Documentation on that investigation has apparently since been declassified.
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See Also: Diver's Find 53 Year-Old Plane and Maybe The UFO It Collided With!