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The Salvage

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Morning breaks and the sunlight reveals that the aircraft has sunk to the point where just the tips of the props are still showing.  The team has breakfast and then Mark and Gordy gear up and make an inspection tour of the plane, lift bags and rigging.  The B-17 has rotated so that it is now facing downstream and the wings are clear of the bottom.  While the lift bags around the nacelles have moved forward till they are stopped by the props, they are undamaged and have only vented air through their overpressure/vent valves during the night.  This is good news and an even better discovery is that the after end of the fuselage is now accessible.  A 7,500 pound lift bag will be placed where the ball turret was once located.

The team briefs on the days mission and gets started.  Chaffing gear will need to be placed around the bottom of the after fuselage in order to prevent the sharp edges of the aluminum from tearing at the lift bag.

The after lift bag will need to get positioned and secured.

The lift bags around the nacelles are individually deflated, removed and taken ashore where they are flattened out and then returned for reinstallation and rigging.

It is hard work for the dive team, Gary Sr. and Jr. aboard the boats and Don, Joey and Hamilton ashore.  They hours of the day pass quickly and the aircraft is almost ready to be lifted again, but it will need to wait for tomorrow and daylight.  There is still some more rigging and adjustment to be done before the lift can be made.

Don and Mark begin to discuss the towing operation and the tasks that will need to be completed in the next few days before the boats are requested.  The weather is the major factor to be considered.  Roy Skanes undertakes the task of keeping the team advised with the latest in local weather forecasts.