Expedition journals
Northern Fleet divers raise an Airacobra fighter plane from a lake on the Kola Peninsula
© RIA Novosti. Anton Denisov

Northern Fleet divers raise an Airacobra fighter plane from a lake on the Kola Peninsula

Northern Fleet divers have found and raised a Р-39 Airacobra fighter plane from a lake on the Kola Peninsula. This American plane was delivered to the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War under the Lend-Lease program, the Defense Ministry said on its website.

The fighter plane was lying at a depth of 45 meters for 72 years. It has been raised with the help of a truck crane and delivered to the Museum of the Air Force of the Northern Fleet in the town of Safonovo for restoration.

The inspection of the northern part of Lake Shchukozero near Severomorsk began on June 29. It involved divers from the search and rescue department of the Northern Fleet, special equipment and a boat with а side-looking locator and a remotely controlled submersible craft.

The project was monitored by Northern Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov.

The information about the plane and the fact that it could be lying in Lake Shchukozero was unearthed in the archives. According to data discovered, the plane piloted by Junior Lieutenant Fyodor Varavikov from the 2nd Flying Squadron of the 255th Fighter Regiment of the Northern Fleet's Air Force crashed during a training flight on March 6, 1945. Both concentration and great skill were required in order to be able to fly such a fighter plane as a Р-39 Airacobra. The plane likely went into a tailspin and crashed into ice on the lake barely a few kilometers from the Vaenga Airfield.

According to information from the fatality list of the 5th Kirkenes Mine and Torpedo Division of the Northern Fleet's Air Force for March 1 to 10, 1945, Junior Lieutenant Fyodor Varavikov died in the crash. The rescue party has not found his body in the pilot's cabin of the plane, but they observed a minute of silence in the pilot's honor.