The plane crashed upon take-off when the engine failed on 4 September 1943. The aircraft made a slow turn and barrel-rolled into Gander Lake, Newfoundland. The four-crew members did not survive.
At the time of the crash in 1943, military hardhat divers found the aircraft “Liberator 589D” on a ledge in Gander Lake. They attempted to attach cables to the fuselage to salvage the plane. They were also recovering the body of Squadron Leader John G. MacKenzie.
It’s an unsettled kind of morning on Chedabucto Bay of Canada’s east coast. The sun is shining—it’s really quite pleasant—but there’s a brisk wind blowing from the southwest. What that translates into here in the waters between Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia is heavy seas. We’re pounding through four to six foot swells in a 25-foot rigid hull inflatable boat.
Just knowing that Vikings started a settlement here a thousand years ago and that the first fishermen from Europe began arriving in the 1500’s adds to a sense of history that cloaks the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s a sense that I’m acutely aware of on this sunny day in June on board the vessel, Ocean Quest, as the skipper, Bill Flaherty, navigates across Conception Bay towards Bell Island.