Crew of B-24 bomber lost off Long Island to be honored
Last spring, fishing for porgies at a spot some 70 miles southeast of the Shinnecock Inlet known as “The Lump,” Andrew Soleau and the crew of the Viking Pride hauled from 44 fathoms deep an airplane’s landing gear. It was a piston longer than a man is tall, rusted and 600 pounds heavy.
Even for Long Island, where the sea floor is dotted with hundreds of wrecks, this was odd, and after the Viking Pride came in, Soleau’s friend, Kevin Bartlett, put the thing in his truck and delivered it to the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale.
Museum staff immediately identified the piece as part of a B-24 bomber. More than 18,000 of them were built during World War II, but only one disappeared without a trace off Long Island in the vicinity of The Lump, according to research by museum photographer Fred Freketic: a B-24H with an 11-man crew that made its last, garbled radio transmission on the afternoon of April 7, 1944.