Diving to The WW II Bomber

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American bomber plane, amphorae, antique anchor…

You simply must be jealous of all those who get to enjoy scenes such as those caught on camera by our colleague and photographer Božo Vukičević.
Scenes from the waters around Vis were everyday routine for the team of divers from the Croatian Conservation Institute – Department of Underwater Archaeology, for some ten days. The team lead by Jurica Bezak, and consisting of Igor Miholjek, Saša Denegri, Ante Plančić, Neven Lukas, Pavle Dugonjić, Jerko Macura and Jelena Pavić, explored eight sites in the Vis area. Some of the findings were very interesting.
The one on the photos is the US B-24 Tulsamerican bomber, the last of the Liberator class, manufactured at the city of Tulsa during World War II. It is interesting that its building was financed by the factory workers whose names were written out on the plane’s body. That didn’t help it much, though. It was damaged during its last mission; it didn’t even manage to land at Vis Airport so three crew members died during emergency landing, while the seven survivors were transported to the island of Vis.
At another site, near the ancient quarry in Srebrna Cove, an anchor crossbar from the Antiquity weighing 800 kilos was found. That makes it the largest one found in our part of the Adriatic. The gigantic anchor was pulled out from the sea with the help of the Ivan Kamber police boat and it was stored in the Vis branch of the Museum of Archaeology in Split.
Following the report by Petronije Tasić from the Mornar Diving Club in Split, the site with a 4th century BC ship wreck thought to have been raided after being discovered in the 1970s was additionally looked into. At the depth of 63 metres, the divers found a surprise – a number of heart-shaped amphorae, one of which was taken out and stored at the Vis Museum.
Finally, remains of a yet undiscovered shipwreck from this era, probably from the 17th or 18th century, were discovered.
The ship carried anchors and ceramic bowls and the site has been wonderfully preserved. The Head of Research Jurica Bezak mentioned that the whole seabed research has been done in cooperation with the employees of the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Split Harbourmaster’s Office, which participated with its Marjan boat, and Coast Guard which will be regularly involved in such missions in the future.

Ivo Bonković
Published in Adriatic Times

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