Lake Ontario Yields a Treasure

An exploration team discovered the nearly intact remains of an Air Force Beechcraft C-45 on the floor of Lake Ontario, near Oswego, N.Y., the team announced on July 8. On Sept. 11, 1952, the twin-engined light transport suffered a single engine failure on a flight from Bedford, Mass., to the former Griffiss AFB, N.Y. After instructing the four others aboard to bail out, pilot Lt. Col. Charles Callahan set the aircraft’s autopilot on course away from populated areas and bailed out himself, according to discoverer Jim Kennard. Without its passengers and crew, the C-45 gained altitude instead and flew 65 miles before running out of fuel and plunging into Lake Ontario. The five passengers and crew aboard parachuted to safety. “We were amazed to see that the C-45 is almost totally intact,” said Kennard, who found the aircraft using side-scan sonar with his colleague Roger Pawlowski. “This probably explains why no debris could be found” by Air Force and Coast Guard searchers at the time, he added. (See also C-45 factsheet from the National Museum of the US Air Force.)