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Salvagers continue attempt to raise World War II dive bomber from reservoir

SAN DIEGO - Salvagers will try again today to raise a World War II dive bomber that crashed into a reservoir near Eastlake more than 65 years ago.

The Navy SB2C Helldiver was supposed to be pulled from the depths of Lower Otay Lake Wednesday, but the operation was postponed due to delays in dredging, Arian Collins, a spokesman for the San Diego Water Department said.

Once it is finally freed, the Helldiver will be salvaged and taken to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., where it will be restored and put on display.

The aircraft crashed into the reservoir during a training flight in 1945, settling in about 90 feet of water.

The two-person crew survived, but the wreck was largely forgotten until last year, when Duane Johnson, a local fisherman, spotted the outline of the plane on his fish finder.

The salvage operation is privately funded.

According to the National Naval Aviation Museum, there are only a handful of surviving examples of the more than 5,100 Helldivers manufactured during World War II.

For additional information on the dive bomber, go to


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