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B-17 Search 1998
Press Releases



Lost B-17 Bomber Recovered after 57 Years


Contact:  Robert Mester, or Mark Allen Underwater Admiralty Services
Phone:      253-370-6980 or 206-227-1833
Website:  www.b17labrador.com
Date:        Thursday September 16th at 1:00 PM at the Seattle Museum of Flight    auditorium.

With only 11 B-17 bombers left flying in the world...less than a squadron out of the thousands of these distinguished warplanes that were built during and shortly after WWII...it is safe to say that they are very rare. The famous Boeing designed combat plane, and icon of the air war in Europe, is best known by civilians for their distinctive nose art and remembered by their crews as being reliable, uncomfortable and menacing.

Don Brooks of Douglas, Georgia and Underwater Admiralty Services Inc., a local non-profit organization, just completed a 7 year project to locate and recovery a B-17 that was lost in Labrador, Canada in 1947. 

The US Army Air Corps B-17 was making its way from Resolute Bay, Northern Territories to Goose Bay, Labrador, in December of 1947 when navigation problems and low fuel conspired against the crew and forced them to land the big plane on a frozen lake a hundred miles from the nearest civilization.  The pilot made a textbook approach and safely landed on the thick ice with no injuries and little damage to their B-17. The crew had to camp on the side of the lake for a couple of days until the weather cleared enough for the military to send a rescue plane. They were rescued from their icy, inhospitable camp on Christmas day, 1947, none the worse for wear, but the plane was left behind and no one had seen it since.

In 1998 Don Brooks retained UAS, Inc. to locate the aircraft and, after a five day search, they found the B-17 on the bottom of a remote river in the boreal wilderness of Labrador, Canada.

This year Don Brooks and UAS, Inc. were able to return to the site to recover the aircraft.  In a race against the weather and with very limited resources, the 13 member recovery team relocated the aircraft, raised the B-17 from the bottom of the river bed and towed the bomber 68 miles to the nearest road.  There the vintage bomber was disassembled and readied for transportation to Douglas, Georgia, the home town of Don Brooks. 

On Thursday the 16th of September at 1:00 PM you can meet the B-17ís Recovery Team from UAS.