The Inertia

On rainy days, most people like to stay indoors, maybe watch a movie or read a book. But whether it is showers or sunshine, it is always a good day for an adventure.

About a half-mile off the shores of Po‘o Point and 15 feet under water is the wreck of a P-47 World War II fighter plane known as the Thunderbolt. It was developed by Republic Aviation Corporation in 1942 to fulfill the military’s need for a fighter craft with exceptional performance, armament, flight range, and protection. But when Kailua airmen prepared the Thunderbolt for a routine training flight from the Bellows Airfield Waimanalo in 1947, the engine failed and the plane dove into shallow, offshore reefs. Although the aircraft was left in pieces, the pilot allegedly came out safe.

The School of Earth Science and Ocean Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii is one of the few departments with documentation regarding the location wreck. But even then, it is still a little tricky to find. I am what one would call… “directionally challenged.” So I left the cartography to my friends. After studying the landmarks and general direction towards the wreck, we used a dive compass to guide us towards the Thunderbolt. And this is what we found.



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