Plane Resurfacing "Like a Spielberg Movie"

Aircraft will eventually be displayed in a museum

By BJ Lutz
|  Monday, Nov 8, 2010  |  Updated 1:30 PM CDT
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WWII Fighter Plane Returns to Land

NBCChicago.com

After 65 years, the F6F-3 Hellcat is back on dry land.

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WWII Fighter Plane Returns to Land

A World War II fighter plane that crashed into an icy Lake Michigan during a training flight almost 65 years ago was brought to the surface Monday.
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A World War II-era fighter plane has been pulled from Lake Michigan, more than 60 years after crashing during a training exercise.

Cranes lifted the F6F-3 Hellcat from 250 feet of water in Waukegan, about 40 miles north of Chicago.

Lt. Walter Elcock crashed the plane on Jan. 5, 1945 during a training flight. He survived the crash and is now 89 years old and living in Atlanta.

His grandson, 36-year-old Hunter Brawley, witnessed the plane's recovery and said "it was like a Spielberg movie." He said his grandfather is thrilled the plane is back on dry land.

"It's unbelievable. I don't know how many people get to see the type of plane their grandfather flew in, but (to) literally sit in the plane that their grandfather flew in, it's made my year," Brawley said.

The plane went down in 250 feet of icy water about 50 miles off the Chicago coast.  It took about four hours to bring the aircraft to a dock.

The plane will eventually be displayed at a museum.

Another aircraft from the same era, a Douglas SBD Dauntless U.S. Navy plane, was pulled from Lake Michigan in April.

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