Plane Wreck, Diving a C47 Transport Plane

Located and correctly identified, North-East of Koh Tao, by a team of technical divers from the SEA explorers club led by Tim Lawrence. This airplane was previously thought to be a legendary P38 lightning. After an unsuccessful expedition to locate it, a second team set out to try again to find the wreck.

Plane Wreck, Diving a C47 Transport Plane

The problem with airplane wrecks is that they are very small targets without any good areas to tie into. The fact that she was also lying at a depth of 60m, meant she posed a very difficult target for any technical diving team.

Plane Wreck Expedition

With this in mind our team set out from Koh Tao and travelled overnight on our converted fishing vessel. The conditions were excellent for the search, flat and calm with little wind. But even so she proved a difficult target with two unsuccessful shots on the sonar return. We put the last shot in after increasing the weight and reducing the size of the buoy. This was because the current on the mark was causing our lazy shot to run out and drag birth control along the bottom.

The third shot proved to be successful and we descended on the nose of the plane. With the heavy narcosis due to the depth and the work rate on the descent, it took some time to figure out the outline. The fuselage lies mainly intact with one wing still attached and engine in place.

We retrieved what we believed to be part of the undercarriage.  It contained some numbers with which we hoped to identify the wreck. It later turned out to be part of the co-pilots seat. An aviation expert we spoke to informed us about the location of the maker’s plate for the aircraft. It lay just behind the position where we recovered the co-pilots seat frame.

After doing some more research, a retired air force Colonel told us that the debris was that of a civilian C47, not a military version.

The wreck is still diveable but only at certain times of year, due the strong currents in the surrounding area.

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