The Dornier 24 was a huge seaplane with a flight span of 27m and nearly 6m in height. She was motorized with three propellers motors of type Bramo Fafnir 323R-2 who developed each 1014hp, flying her to a maximum speed of 340 km/h.
The Do24 was built since 1937 in France, in Germany and in Holland. Just prior to WWII, the seaplane version was fitted with three cannons; one MG 151 of 20mm and two MG 15 of 7,92mm.
This particular plane held the squadron number 205. She left her base of Aspretto, near Ajaccio to link Saint Mandrier. One the 2th June 1949, at 14h15, she takes off to return to base. The pilot is Master Jean Bohain, and all together there are nine people on board, among them is a high rankin Officer Paul Piéron. The combination of stormy weather and mechanical problems force the plane to head back to Saint-Mandrier. The crew announces that decision by radio and turns back. While flying over Port-Cros, her motors fail and an emergency landing is initiated. The touchdown is extremely violent due to the rough sea, and the plane loses a float, capsizes and sinks with her pilot still trapped inside. The eight other crew members make a safe escape and are rescued by the Anne-Marie.
Site : the Dornier 24 off the point of La Galère, near to the Islands of Port-Cros.
Co-ordinates : 43 deg 02,609 north / 06 deg 24,568 east
Depth : the top of the cockpit is at 88m and the deepest part of the seaplane is where a torpedo lies at 94m
The wreck of Dornier 24 is in excellent condition, even though the wings have now collapsed on the cockpit. Really impressive, she benefits of very good lighting conditions due to the white colored sand surrounding her. A stroll over the wreckage while reveal many points of interest; the cockpit, trapped under a motor is well conserved. You can still see the radio and the copilots seat. The rest of the wreck is pretty much intact and the exploration of the fuselage or the canon posts located to the tail, reveals many details. The motors are staked with lobsters, eels and congers giving a true second life to this wreck. Other surprise, just facing the cockpit, lying on the sand is an orange experimental torpedo left by of the French Navy. The Do24 was also a heroin of the film Un avion sous la mer shot by Christian Pétron helped by the Navy submarine Griffon.
The main difficulty remains the depth of the dive. The visibility is usually excellent and the there are hardly any currents. The dive will be done on a hypoxic trimix and all precautions are to be taken when diving to these depths.
Ocean Zone Divers
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