2006 Hoax "Discovery of F-89"
In September 2006, an email was sent to Francis Ridge at the UFO organization, NICAP, which claimed that a dive salvage company called the "Great Lakes Dive Company" had discovered what appeared to be the mostly intact wreckage of an F-89 fighter jet on the bottom of Lake Superior. The news of the alleged discovery quickly circulated on several UFO websites and UFO web forums. First "UFO Updates List", then "UFO Digest" and Linda Moulton Howe's website "earthfiles.com". The alleged dive company set up a fairly sophisticated website which had its own forum used to discuss the "discovery". The main contact (who went by the name/alias "Adam Jimenez"), made several claims.
They claimed to be a dive salvage company which was using a towed side scan sonar to help it locate wrecks. The company had allegedly discovered what appeared to be the F-89 in the summer of 2005. They claimed they had scanned the region of Lake Superior where contact was lost with the F-89 back in November 23, 1953. The coordinates of the last contact are contained in the RCAF SAR report and several telexes in the USAF investigation report.
On the website, they published two crude "sonar scans" of the alleged discovery.
In reality, the "sonar scans" look like they could be crude drawings or photo of an F-89 model, minus one wing and horizontal stabilizer passed through a photoshop noise filter. But the crude images were enough to get lots of people excited that the "discovery" might be real.
I first learned about this from David Cherniack, as I was travelling with him filming his documentary "the Moncla Memories" which relates to some anomalous memories I have about the pilot of the missing F-89. I was personally quite sceptical of the announced discovery for several reasons. The first was that I figured if the F-89 had actually crashed into Lake Superior, it would almost certainly have been ripped to pieces by the force of impact. The F-89 has its jet inlets at the base of the fuselage, so even if the pilot managed to set the plane down on its fuselage, the water going into the turbine inlets would cause almost instantaneous deceleration of the plane, causing the aircraft to break up.
I did however believe that if the F-89 had crashed into Lake Superior in the region where radar contact was lost with the F-89, it should be possible to locate it using side scan sonar technology.
My scepticism about the alleged discovery grew when the "dive company" revealed that they had also found a "metallic disc" a short distance away from the main aircraft wreckage. They claimed that they were unable to use their side scan sonar to get sonar images of the object because the object was emitting some time of "radiation". So they claimed that they had jerry rigged a "fish finder" that they lowered (to depths of about a thousand feet!!!) to capture the crude image of the "mystery disc". They also claimed that they were being denied access to the site by the Canadian government.
James Carrion, the head of MUFON started to investigate the claims. He discovered there was:
- no company named "Great Lakes Dive Company" registered in Michigan
- no one had ever heard of "Adam Jimenez" or the "Great Lakes Dive Company" amongst great lakes shipwreck salvage operators
- the Canadian government denied claims they had denied access to the company and stated they had no records of contact with the fictitious company
- the original email to Francis Ridge had contained a phony hoaxed "Associated Press" story which had never been released
The website suddenly went offline with no explanation and the perpetrator "Adam Jimenez" stopped answering his cell phone and emails.
Despite the fact that the "dive company" never produced any actual evidence that they were real, never mind any real evidence that they had indeed found an intact aircraft wreck on the bottom of Lake Superior, there were many people who continued to believe the claims.
Six years later, we still don't know who was behind this hoax and what was their motivations.