Northern Fleet to raise WWII fighter in Subarctic
The Northern Fleet's search-and-rescue team is preparing to raise the remains of a P-39 Airacobra fighter from the bottom of Lake Shchukozero in the Murmansk Region, RIA Novosti reported quoting Chief of the Fleet's Press Service, Captain 1st Rank Vadim Serga.
The WWII plane was discovered in the silt in Lake Shchukozero by sound ranging at a depth of over 40 meters during a 2011 expedition. Later, it was identified as a P-39 Airacobra fighter aircraft that was part of the US to USSR lend-lease program during the war.
In 2013, the area where the plane went down was explored by submersible remote controlled devices. "The researchers discovered large sections of the fuselage and wing, and a propeller, all covered in silt. This was confirmed in 2015 and 2017," Serga said.
According to military archives, a P-39 Airacobra crashed over Lake Shchukozero during a training mission on March 6, 1945. It belonged to the second squadron of the Northern Fleet's 255 Fighter Wing. Its pilot — Sub-Lieutenant Fyodor Varavchikov — was killed in the crash when the fighter hit the ice during the fall.
In 2017, the Northern Fleet plans to continue searching for the remains of military service personnel killed, and combat hardware used during the Great Patriotic War. "Discovered artefacts will be restored for display in the Northern Fleet Naval Museum," Serga added.