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Are B-17s and Catalinas Sunken in a Lake in Australia?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: February 18, 2014 
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I am a Postal Technician and I recently was speaking with a man (Name withheld for privacy reasons.—Editor) from Placitas, NM, who is Australian. He was telling me of 35 intact B-17 bombers in the lake right off the Boeing construction facility in 70 ft. of water. He said he knew this because he would dive on them. I Googled this but I didn't get any hits on this. Are you aware of this? He also said on the other side of the lake in 600' of water are PBY Catalinas. He said when they came back and if they determined too expensive to fix, they would pull the sea cocks and let them sink. Let me know what you find.


Edward Sponenburg

? ? ?

Dear Mr. Sponenburg,

The information below in response to your query comes from J.D. Wyneken, who works at the Museum of Flight at the old Boeing factory in Seattle, Washington. I daresay he may be the one to know.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


Hi Jon,

Happy New Year to you. According to the information I have found, there are not any B-17s in Lake Washington at all, never mind 35. There is a PB4Y down there and a Lockheed PV2D Harpoon as well. It's also worth noting that all the aircraft in the lake crashed there—Boeing does not have the right to junk any material in the lake because the lake is US Government property, not Boeing property. And B-17s were never built at Renton, but at Boeing Field. Some B-29s were built at Renton, but none of those are in the lake either.

Based on the subject line of the original email, I thought maybe the original claim was about some phantom Boeing Plant on a lake in Australia, so I also checked on any sunken B-17s in Australia / SW Asia; all I could find were three in Papua New Guinea. The link below is to a local site farmed out by the US Geological Survey with some info on what's in Lake Washington, which at maximum depth is about 220 ft., not 600.

If there is any other info you could use, or if I misunderstood the request in any way, just let me know. Thanks very much, Jon.



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