Photos © Graham Robson
Looking for help here in identifying two partly submerged wrecks, one is a Douglas DC-3 and the other is a Curtiss C-46 Commando, located off Bimini South Island in the Bahamas. These photos were taken in April 2002.
Both are very easy to see in the crystal clear water and ideal for snorkelling/scuba diving, with all pieces of wreckage marked with tall flags.
This is a DC-3 and is reported to have crashed in 1982: ran out of fuel and ditched less than half mile from end of runway at Bimini South airport, which lies behind the trees on the beach, on the north side of the island.
See also this link to Google Maps or this screendump
This is a Curtiss C-46 and lies about half mile offshore on the east side of Bimini South Island. It is reported to have crashed in 1986: aborted landing and made hasty go-around, when crew discovered DEA and police waiting for them at airport. The crew lost control of
the aircraft when the cargo shifted and the C-46 stalled, crashing into water killing the crew. The wreck is in two pieces, the tail
section is a few hundred yards away.
In June 2006 I received following email-
"I ran across your two airplane photos.
The C-46's tail is now mostly gone. As of 2005 the main wing is still there as is the tire. There used to be an engine sitting on it's back just SW of the wing but I could not find it last time.
I only cruised by in the boat but I have snorkeled it 12-15 years ago.
Where is the DC-3? It looks to be a little deeper than the C-46, which was hard to snorkel at low tide.
There is also a single engine Cessna sitting upright almost at the shoreline, due north of the C-46... Very shallow it there.
I'll be in Bimini this summer and hope to find the DC-3."
Graham Robson shared:
"Interesting - would really like to get an id on both.
You can pass on to Gary that the DC-3 is almost right on the extended centreline of the airfield, very close to the shore, the beach must only be 400-500m from the wreck (from memory). It is marked with a flag on top of a long pole."
Michael Prophet posted a link to Google Maps, displaying a submerged plane; click on the photo for a broader look on its location.
He wrote: "On 12Sep1979 A Rich International Airways Curtiss C-46A-60-CK (
N7768B) ditched off the coast in the Bahamas, after having engine problems. I have just spotted a picture of the C-46 on Google Maps...! The C-46 looks basically complete except for the tail."
Alexandre Avrane of ATDB disagreed on the identity and wrote: "This underwater C-46 is off Norman Cay, Bahamas and this fits with N355BY msn
30243 - see
Rich N7768B was lost off South Caicos, British West Indies:
| "I found your pictures of the two plane wrecks off south Bimini
very interesting, but I have a question. I was there just after Christmas
2006 and we were snorkeling just off the beach on south Bimini, next to
the new resort/condos. I am not really sure what they were, near the entrance
to the new marina, right near the channel, between north and south islands... |
found a plane wreck about 10 feet off shore and it looked quite old and was only
really one big wing, with a lot of debri lying around. It appeared to be a
I was wondering if you knew what plane this was or if you had
any information on it.
Brandyne Arendse wrote me in Jan.2007:
"I am sending two photos of the beach where I found a plane wreck in Dec.2006
Picture no.1 (left) was taken looking towards the channel between north and south islands, with the Bimini Sands resort just a couple of feet behind. The wreck is in the vicinity of the second set of shadows in the water up the beach from me."
"Picture no.2 (right) is taken a little further up the same beach with
the wreck almost in front of where i took the picture, just a few feet into
"We found this plane wreck about 10 feet off shore. It looked quite old and it was really only one big wing, with a lot of debris lying around and it appeared to be a twin engine... |
I found some coordinates of the area. Its some where between 25 42' 40" N Lat 79 18' 03" W Long
and 25 42' 49" N Lat 79 18' 00" W Long.
These two points are just along the beach from each other.
Maybe this information will help in finding out more about this plane wreck."
Stumbled on a Facebook post in Feb.2019. Jim Raycroft wrote: "The Norman Cay DC3 [sic] - Then and now"
Photo © Jim Raycroft
This is of course the Curtiss C-46, thought to be N355BY msn
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