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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Wreckage is wartime flying boat
Aircraft wreckage found in the sea off Oban in February has been identified as a Second World War flying boat.

Military aviation experts who studied photographs of the submerged aircraft have confirmed that it is a twin-engined Catalina.

The aircraft crashed during a training exercise in 1945 and its nine-man South African crew escaped with minor injuries.

RAF Oban was an important flying boat station throughout the war.

The Catalina - JX596 - had taken off its anchorage in the Firth of Lorne on 12 April for a flight prior to the crew ferrying it back to South Africa.

Navy minesweepers

Announcing the discovery, the RAF's press officer in Scotland, Michael Mulford, said: "We are extremely grateful to the volunteers who run the War and Peace Museum in Oban for their help in our inquiries - as well as to the Air Accident Investigation Branch who confirmed our findings."

There had been speculation that the wreckage might have been a Cessna light aircraft piloted by a former Spitfire ace which took off from Mull in 1975 but failed to return.

The body of pilot Peter Gibb was later found on the island but the circumstances of his death remain a mystery.

An investigation was launched after three Royal Navy minesweepers found the mystery aircraft on the sea bed off the west coast.


SEE ALSO:
Navy completes mystery plane probe
09 Feb 04  |  Scotland
Mystery plane found on sea bed
07 Feb 04  |  Scotland


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