The Lost DakotaDecember 1 2014
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On September 11, 1945, only a few days after the Japanese surrendered and the war was officially over, an Australian military transport airplane of the type Dakota C47 took off from Milne Airport into a heavy tropical storm. Onboard where 19 Australian servicemen and women.
The aircraft never made it to its destination and was reported missing. A few days later, local authorities reported the findings of pieces of wreckage which could be traced to the aircraft, and a search was carried out. However, with the technology available at the time they did not manage to find it, and it was reported as Missing In Action ever since.
Late 2011 and early 2012, a team of divers and explorers lead by Rod Pearce, a well known PNG diver, met in Milne Bay to search for the missing aircraft using modern technology. After a few days of searching the bay area we returned to the sixth position we had marked on our equipment as “of interest”. After many consecutive dives over a few weeks we managed to get enough video footage and pictures for aviation specialists in Australia to confirm it as being the right type of aircraft. However, our main goal was to get a positive ID, which we didn’t manage, in part because of lack of resources at the time.
The next step.
Our plan is to return to the site to re-film the site and to continue the search for proof of ID. This will possibly include recovery of parts of the wreckage. The whole process will be filmed and edited as a documentary.
Captain & Diving Legend – Rodney Pearce
Rod, born and raised in Papua New Guinea put his first SCUBA tank on his back in 1960, and has been hooked ever since. He is credited with discovering most of its best underwater wrecks, including B-17F “Black Jack” 41-24521 and s’Jacob, plus many other shipwrecks and aircraft. Until recently he was running charters for small groups out of his vessel MV Barbarian II, but has of lately decided to dedicate all his time to the search for lost wrecks, particularly aircrafts. If you pick up any literature on diving and PNG, there is a good chance Rod will be featured in it.
Diver – Kasper Sommer
Kasper Sommer comes from a background in finance with his masters in Investments, tax law and management accounting, but a passion for sailing and diving kept him hitting the road and eventually it lead him to become a professional diver with focus on training, but with a special interest in search & recovery. After spending a handful of years in and around South-east Asia and Oceania, he is today altering between those two careers in the colder waters of Copenhagen, when he is not looking for another wreck to dive.
Diver – Cecilie West
Cecilie is a PADI Divemaster and a student of Mathematics and Economics at Copenhagen Business School. She has been diving around the world since she was 15 and would rather be under water than over. A full time student, she uses every opportunity to do what she really loves, to travel and dive. She has been involved in Marine Conservation projects in Bali and Seychelles, which she is very passionate about. She is looking forward to complete her instructor training soon.
Videographer & Editor – Francisco Javier Mompean
FJ Mompeán is multimedia developer. He began his career as a photographer in 98 as assistant to great photographers in the fashion world. He spent 10 years working for national and international press as a paparazzi, music and news photographer. One day decides to change his life and leaves everything to pursue his passion, navigation and the sea, working as a coach of a canoeing team and sailing instructor. Currently combines the sea with multimedia development, post-production specialist, animation and everything related with web image.
Music & Sound – Jose Luis Lopez Lopez (Pepelu)
José Luis is a musician and a teacher who has studied music in Spain and Finland, formed in different areas such as composition, choral music, instrumental music production and interpretation. Over the years, he has developed an interest in teaching and making music alike, and tried to unite both worlds. Currently he is dedicated to the study of composition and sound, and how they work with other artistic disciplines. Particularly, his interests now focus on the field of live sound and field recording, and how this can mix with more strictly musical creation.
Producer, Videographer & Diver – Roy Petter Dyrdahl Torgersen / Del Cabo Media / Wreckdivers.tv
Roy is a Master Mariner with a huge passion the aquatic realm, who spends more time on and in the water than on firm land. Having worked for years on commercial saturation diving and ROV vessels in the Oil & Gas Industry, he has learned a thing or two about underwater engineering. Trained by PADI & TDI in diving procedures, he has spent most of his free time and money travelling around the world to known and lesser known dive sites.