WAUKEGAN, IL (CBS) - A World War 2 F6F-3 Hellcat fighter plane was raised from the depths of Lake Michigan off Waukegan Monday morning. The US Navy is leading the recovery. This is the sixth Hellcat recovered from Lake Michigan where it has been submerged since crash landing during training in December of 1944.
During the 2nd World War, Navy pilots trained to land on aircraft carriers in Lake Michigan before seeing active duty. The carriers used for training were in fact old lake freighters modified with wooden landing decks. The ships were docked at Navy Pier in Chicago and the planes were flown out of Glenview Naval Air Station.
The plane being raised Monday is an F6F-3 Hellcat was piloted by LT (JG) Walter B Elcock. Elcock was attempted a landing on the USS Sable when he crashed into 250 feet of water. Elcock survived the crash and currently lives in Atlanta.
More than 17,000 pilots completed the training at Glenview Naval Air Station, including former President George H.W. Bush.