Offshore WWII Era Aircraft Wreck?


After investigation efforts and media exposure from the Lycoming engine crash site and the Vought A7 wreckage, TISIRI had become aware of another possible aircraft wreck. This past Sunday TISIRI divers Joe Kistel, Ed Kalakauskis, and Alex Jones decided to make an introductory visit to confirm if the area was indeed a crash site.

Capt. Steve Blalock escorted divers to the area and dropped a marker buoy when the vessel reached the location. Divers entered the water and before reaching the sea floor they could make out a large block-like object off in the distance. They divers immediately swam towards it and as they approach each diver new exactly what they were looking at. They were staring at the remains of a large rotary or radial aircraft engine. See pictures below...

Now the questions are what aircraft did these components belong to and how did it get here? Please provide any insight you may be able to provide after looking at these pictures in the comments section below.

TISIRI has gathered information that made lead us to several other unanswered aircraft wreck sites. We hope to be able to obtain the fiscal resources need to pursue these investigations and answer the stories of each wreck. Some of these aircraft may contain the answers some families are looking for or be significant to the US military and our history. Please let us know if you would like to help the TISIRI organization in solving these mysteries.

16 Responses

  1. Owen

    Nice find, I look forward to seeing what kind of plane this was/

  2. James

    Radial engine, not Rotary engine. Both radial and earlier rotary aircraft engines look similar superficially, but are very different beasts.

  3. Paul P

    What is the length of the wing in frame 16? There also seems to be something structural (landing gear?) under it as well. Frame 18 shows a bit more of that but it’s not clear.

  4. James,
    Thanks for the clarification.

    We were not able to take actual measurements but to give an idea most of the fish in the image you referenece are roughly 6 inches in length.

  5. Joshua

    That is deffinitely a radial engine from a ww2 era airplane. The propeller hub looks like that of a Vought F4U Corsair or some biplane like a Stearman or Waco. A good way to find out what aircraft it came from is to look at the number of cylinders on the engine. If it was a larger, more powerful airplane, it would have cylinders numbered in the teens.

  6. Michael

    Just read on Fox News that you guys found Bob Besal (the pilot) in Charleston! That’s where I live as well. I would love to come down and dive this site. Ive been a big fan of the work TISIRI is doing and it awesome that you guys found this wreck. I hope Bob comes down and dives the site as well! I couldn’t even imagine the roller coaster of emotion it would bring. Great find guys!!

  7. Roy

    I guess I’m a little confused. The article on Fox News says the pilot ejected in 1974 from his A-7 Corsair. The A-7 Corsair’s first flight was in 1965 which wouldn’t make it a WWII era jet. Great find nonetheless. I used to work on A-7s early in my Air Force career

  8. Roy,

    These pictures above are pictures of a different aircraft wreck that we have just begun to discover. These pictures are not of the A7 that Besal flew. See pictures of the A7 wreckage by clicking on the other links at this page

  9. Steve

    If the engine is an R-2600 maybe you found Flight 19!

  10. kavieng Lee

    Tell him his plane sleeps with the fishes.

  11. Aaron

    The propeller hub appears to be a three-blade configuration. Any count on the cylinders? 18 would point to an R-2800…but many aircraft used those engines.

  12. We are not sure of how many cylinders as the engine is heavily encrusted and much of the obvious cylinder components are no longer present. Based on some of the exhaust piping it looks like the cylinders may have been layered in at least circle configurations.

  13. […] Offshore WWII Era Aircraft Wreck? | TISIRI […]

  14. Geof

    Grumman F8F Bearcat

  15. Rob

    From the distance between the cylinders and propeller hub, it appears your engine is a Wright R-1820 radial. With beefed-up structure and the three-bladed hub, plus the location off of Florida, it appears consistent with a Douglas SBD Dauntless or similar.

  16. Jim R"

    used part’s Over board”
    I think it odd by the photo’s” one it splattered it self on impact; thus all over the place’ or junk over board:
    never the less” any time some one makes a find on the sea bed
    I do find it most interesting to see photo’s: great pic’s guy’s
    hope to hear & see more:

  17. Scott Watson

    Are there Blades on the propellor hub? Typically in a ditch type scenario there will be bent blades still attached to the hub. How large of an area is the wreckage distributed over. Any evidence of an explosion, as in outwardly bent sheet metal with tears…I think Jim might be on to something on the “junkoverboard” scenario….

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