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PB2Y-3 Coronado

PB2Y-3 'Coronado' (Found in August 2017) Featured

On September 14, 1944 a PB2Y-3 Coronado’ nicknamed 'Gunga Din' was practicing landings at Kwajalein Atoll, near the seaplane base at Ebeye Island, when the plane crashed and broke in half directly behind the wing. The two sections of the plane floated on the water for about 30 minutes before sinking. There were 13 people on board, and all survived except one.

 

Fred M. Matson, PhM1c, USN, was in the forward bunking compartment in the nose of the plane. The section Matson was trapped in was about 15 feet below the surface, and several attempts were made to dive down and extricate him before the front half of the plane sank. These efforts were to no avail.

 

The tail section of the plane was located in August 2015 using an Imagenex 'Sportscan' side-scan sonar. A fragment of the lower fuselage was discovered in July 2016, also from imaging provided by the 'Sportscan' sonar. The fuselage fragment proved to be an important clue as to where the front half of the plane was possibly lying.

 

And on August 21, 2017 the wing and forward section of the plane was located using the team's new Marine Sonic 'Seascan ARC Explorer' side-scan sonar, and team divers went into the water four days later to confirm the find. An additional dive was carried out on September 25, 2017 for additional photos and video of the wreck. 


Matson's family has been notified of the discovery of the wing and forward section of the plane. A report has also been sent to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), as well as US Army Garrison- Kwajalein Atoll. The GPS coordinates for the various pieces of wreckage are a strictly-guarded secret, and will remain so until DPAA recovers any remains of PhM1c Matson and declares that it is no longer a gravesite.