Diving PNG’s Holy Grail... Like a scene from a Hollywood film set – the huge plane sits serenely in 50m of clear blue water just of the fringing reef near the village of Boga Boga. The area is quite remote at the tip of Cape Vogel on northeast coast of New Guinea island.
The wreck is the B17-F Black Jack Flying Fortress and what many consider to be the very best aircraft wreck in Papua New Guinea.
Discovered, almost by accident, in 1986 by Australians Rod Pearce, Bruce Johnson and David Pennefather. Who were conducting a dedicated expedition to look for what they thought was probably an Australian Beaufort A9.
Pennefather had been told by the villagers about a plane that had crashed near the reef during WWII. And Australian military records indicated that an A9 had crash landed in the area of nearby Collingwood Bay. So he organized an expedition to search for it using Rod Pierce’s boat the MV Barbarian.
Black Jack crash landed at this remote location in July 1943, as it returned from a bombing mission to Rabaul in New Britain. But its story and location had gotten lost in the annals of time… So its discovery was a bit like finding the Holy Grail…
Diving PNG’s Holy Grail – Nuigini Blue Article
The discovery of Black Jack is a great story in itself. But the subsequent one about how the pilot Ralph DeLoach was tracked down in California is even better. Not to mention bringing him back to PNG and then all the way to Boga Boga village!
Nuigini Blue magazine in Papua New Guinea recently published a six page Diving PNG’s Holy Grail article of mine – which you can download by clicking on the link provided.