David Losinski and his son, Drew, found the P-39 fighter that crashed April 11, 1944, killing pilot 2nd Lt. Frank H. Moody of Los Angeles, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported. They learned that Moody was among the Tuskegee Airmen, America's first black military pilots.
David Losinski said he and his son were assisting the state Department of Environmental Quality with a barge that sank in Lake Huron in July 2012. During those efforts, they noted several areas they wanted to investigate and returned to the area where the wreckage was eventually found.
"This year, we went out diving, and we could see these points of interest from the surface," Losinski said. "Drew said, 'Dad, that's an airplane.'
"You could see the wings. We knew we had some kind of plane."
The divers, who are former members of the St. Clair County Dive Team, said the wreckage includes the engine, tail, a 37-millimeter gun and other parts. A serial number on part of the wreckage helped them confirm it was the plane, David Losinski said.
"We came across the gauge cluster, which had the radio call tag," David Losinski said. They want to preserve the site as a memorial for other divers to visit.
An account of the crash from the Times Herald said Moody was among four pilots who were taking gunnery practice about three miles north of Port Huron when the plane crashed. A woman who saw the crash said at the time that smoke was coming from the tail of the plane before it went down and that the pilot apparently realized he was in trouble before the aircraft plunged into the lake.
Moody's body washed ashore in Port Huron on June 4, 1944.