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5th of April 1950

A Martin JRM-1 Mars flying boat, named Marshall Mars', was on a test flight after the replacement of the aircraft's #3 engine (Righthand inboard)ón this day in aviation history, the 5th of April in 1960. It was one of the 5 operational Martin JRM-1 Mars flying boats in service with the United States Navy. The US Navy operated the 5 aircraft on Trans-Pacific routes, carrying cargo varying from spare parts to blood plasma and also airlifting wounded soldiers from the Korean war back towards the United States.

The Marshall Mars on fire on the 5th of April 1950 (© United States Navy) As the 'Marshall Mars' was flying near the island of Oahu, Hawaii (USA) one of its Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major caught fire and was forced to make an emergency landing in Ke'ehi Lagoon Oahu, Hawaii (USA). The crew attempted to extinguish the fire but were unsuccessful, and the crew had to evacuate the aircraft, all crewmembers were rescued. The fire spread to the wing of the aircraft and when it reached one of the aircraft's fuel tanks, the aircraft exploded and sank to the bottom of Ke'ehi Lagoon.

The wreckage of the aircraft was discovered in stages by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), the following information was found on their website ;

  • 23rd of August 2004 (click here to go to the relevant HURL webpage) The plane nose section is in one piece, but inverted. It has heavy damage from fire. "MARSHAL" can be clearly seen on the side. A loading winch is on the seabed on one side. The nose section is 16m long & has a NW-SE orientation. 20m to the SE lies the plane's keel. It is severely burned and is a mesh of metal framing. Keel lies at 340m and is 4.5m in width. Nearby the wreckage are a number of debris items from the plane including a corner mounted urinal.

The aircraft's nose inverted on the bottom of the lagoon (Source and ©HURL)

  • 28th of September 2004 (click here to go to the relevant HURL webpage) Some Oil and Fuel tanks were found. Most are in pretty good condition, although one tank has considerable fire damage. It is uncertain exactly how many tanks have been encountered on the various dives with multiple subs. The tanks with a rounded side were for fuel storage. The aircraft would have had two removable tanks in each wing. The more squared-off tanks were for Main Engine Oil (2 in starboard wing) and Carburetor Anti-Icer Tanks (2 in Port wing). These tanks were identical.

Fuel and Oil Tanks (Source and ©HURL)

  • 9th of December 2004 (click here to go to the relevant HURL webpage) Three engines were found. One on end by itself and heavily damaged by fire. Another fully intact with all propeller blades. The third also shows fire damage. Its propeller has fallen off. It is still attached to the wing. The wing is largely intact although riddled with holes and damage. A small portion of the fuselage is present at the wing center section but is heavily mangled. Large amounts of twisted metal and loose debris are in this area, including some lifejackets.

3 of the 4 engines (Source and ©HURL)

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