Parks Canada

Parks Canada

August 21, 2009 10:59 ET

Minister Jim Prentice Confirms That Airplane Found by Parks Canada in St. Lawrence Is American World War II Plane

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 21, 2009) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada confirmed that the plane discovered by Parks Canada underwater archaeologists off the coast of the village of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan in Quebec is the wreckage of a U.S. Army Air Force plane lost in 1942. No human remains were seen during the operation this week, which was conducted principally on the exterior of the sunken aircraft.

"Confirming the identity of the plane was the next step we needed to take," said Minister Prentice. "We would like to thank the six Parks Canada underwater archaeologists for their work. We will continue working with the United States to determine the following steps to hopefully be able to repatriate the lost soldiers. In the meantime, we will work closely with all the relevant authorities to ensure the site is protected."

Three dives with a remotely operated vehicle and four dives by Parks Canada's underwater archaeologists allowed them to confirm that the plane wreckage is the US Army Air Force PBY 5A airplane, also known as a Catalina, which went down in November 1942 after two failed take-off attempts. The plane is in good condition and the fuselage is in one piece. The findings have been shared with U.S. officials. "Parks Canada will wait for their assessment of the information and their decision on the subsequent steps before returning to the site," Minister Prentice said.

There were nine people on board when the aircraft foundered. Four of the crew escaped the flooding plane and were rescued by local fishermen rowing out from shore in open boats in rough seas. The five others are presumed to have perished, trapped in the aircraft by the swift flooding of the fuselage.

On August 6, Minister Paradis announced that a plane believed to be the U.S. plane had been recently discovered by Parks Canada underwater archaeologists while conducting work in an area adjacent to the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada, using side-scan sonar.

"The identification of the plane wreck off the coast of Mingan will now bring closure to the many people who have been so personally touched by this event that happened 67 years ago," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Regional Minister for Quebec. "This is particularly true for the families of the deceased and the village of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan which helped rescue the four survivors."

Parks Canada is dedicated to managing this discovery with the respect and dignity owed to the lost American soldiers. Parks Canada will be collaborating with the U.S. Government to continue the process in order to confirm the presence of remains of missing crewmembers and to explore the possibility of recovering these remains.

Also available on the Internet at www.pc.gc.ca under Media Room.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Parks Canada
    National Corporate Communications Branch
    Media Relations
    819-994-3023