Scuba Diver Magazines

Bid to find stolen Hercules and solve a 50-year-old mystery

Advertisement

Related stories

Scuba 4 Easy Ways To Stop Bumping Your Head on Your Cylinder

you can unscrew the hoses and swap them to the other side, it will still work just the same but now it’s more in line with the cylinder valve itself instead of sticking upwards.

Top 10 Tips for Instructors

it’s very important for you to let them do it themselves. Obviously help them if they’re in trouble or they’re about to do something very silly. But, they need to be the ones to actually do things

Diving instructor sentenced after student dies on training dive

Technical diving instructor Lance Palmer has been sentenced after...

Lawson Wood offers photo tips at GO Diving Show

Renowned underwater photographer Lawson Wood will be offering some...

Critters of the Great Barrier Reef Mantis Shrimp

Blink and you’ll miss it – Critters of the...

A group of divers from Dorset are raising funds to embark on a thorough search of the English Channel in a bid to locate a Hercules aircraft which was stolen and then ditched by a homesick USAF mechanic desperate to see his wife in Virginia.

The full facts about the incident and subsequent aftermath are still shrouded in mystery, but the official report states that on 23 May 1969, 23-year-old Vietnam veteran Sergeant Paul Meyer – who had been refused leave shortly beforehand – spent an evening drinking, and then, after escaping from police custody, impersonated a captain, ordered a Hercules C-130E transport aircraft to be refuelled and took off from Mildenhall in Suffolk in a bid to get home to the US. Meyer had a private pilots licence, but nothing that would have given him the experience to fly a complicated four-engined military cargo plane, so it is a miracle he even managed to get the aircraft off the runway in the first place.

Hercules 1

Tragically, the aircraft disappeared from radar in the middle of the English Channel, shortly after his last recorded words to his wife – who he had made contact with via radio – were ‘leave me alone for five minutes. I’ve got trouble’. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the Hercules fall out of the sky before exploding on impact with the water, and part of the undercarriage was later recovered floating on the surface. However, whether the plane crashed due to pilot error, or was shot down, remains a mystery.

Now, the Deeper Dorset group aims to use complex sonar equipment to seek out the remaining wreckage of the Hercules, map it using 3D photogrammetry techniques, and hopefully find some answers for Meyer’s family. According to a spokesman for the group, after studying official records as well as tidal movements and weather conditions at the time, they believe they have five good potential sites within a ten-square-mile section of the Channel, some 30 miles off Portland Bill.

The group has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £6,000 and is aiming to start sonar scans of the seabed later in the year. To donate, check out: Finding Meyer's missing Hercules

 

Photographs courtesy of Deeper Dorset

Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Listen to our Podcast

LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!

Get a weekly roundup of all Scuba Diver news and articles

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Latest stories
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x