A 47-year-old mystery in Minnesota’s Green Lake was solved Aug. 13 when divers recovered a Cessna L-19 that’s been in the water since 1958.
Capt. Richard Carey, a pilot in the National Guard, was flying over the lake in October 1958 when he radioed that he was low on fuel and had hit something. The airplane crashed. His body was recovered two weeks after the accident but the L-19 remained hidden until last year when fishermen found it in 40 feet of water.
The location of the long-missing airplane was documented with digital images. The published photographs of the tail, the white numbers clearly visible in the green murk, sent a shiver of excitement through both the diving and aviation communities.
During the recovery mission divers noted there was minor damage to the silt-covered airplane. The windows were missing and the propeller and tail were bent. In addition to the aircraft the divers recovered some of Carey’s personal items, including his logbook, parachute and headset.
The Bird Dog has been turned over to Chapter 1172 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, which plans to restore it and turn it into a memorial to Carey.
Among the witnesses to the aircraft recovery were five of Carey’s eight children, as well as dozens of members of the EAA.