This B-24 Liberator is the last one of the series.
The undersea world around the island of Vis is without a
doubt one of the areas in the Adriatic Sea that has the most shipwrecks.
Throughout history there were very rough seas in which
numerous ships, even airplanes disappeared entirely. Two airplanes performed
forced landings in the sea near the fisherman’s village of Rukavac. One of them
is known as the B-14 Flying Fortress, and the other is a B-24 Liberator.
The latter is unique because it’s the last of its kind to
ever be made. It has been named ‘Tulsamerican’ and on its fuselage it carries the
signatures of all the workers who helped to create it.
The sea in this area is pretty deep and it’s quite a
coincidence that the Liberator now rests at the depth of 40 meters. During sinking,
the part of the body with the vertical stabilizer broke off.
We had the opportunity to dive in the central part of the
airplane. The aircraft's four engines can be seen clearly, the landing gear is
still in its lowered position and parts of the cockpit, as well as many other
smaller parts, are found in a wider circle around the wreck.
This airplane was discovered in 2009, but until the summer of 2014
it was prohibited to dive around it because of research led by the Croatian
Office for the Preservation of Cultural Monuments.
According to most recent
information, there is the possibility that the location will be closed again for
diving this summer as new research programs are planned.
Article by Janez Kranjc
Photos by Ivana Orlovic Kranjc