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WW II Corsairs in Sebago Lake intrigue historians

The planes crashed while on a training mission and the young pilots were never recovered. An attempt to recover the planes was stopped by various government agencies in 2003.

SEBAGO (NEWS CENTERMaine) -- In May of 1944, two young British pilots were flying Gull Wing Corsairs at low level over Sebago Lake.

According to retired Navy Captain John James, the pilots were two of four flying in formation. The lead pilot apparently flew into the calm lake. His plane cartwheeled with one of the pieces hitting the trailing Corsair.

James said that plane attempted an emergency water landing. The young pilot would have idled the plane back, opened his canopy and attempted a soft landing.

This plane went in relatively gently and is believed to be the one in widely distributed pictures and internet video.

Historic Aircraft Recovery Corporation located the aircraft and attempted to recover it in 2003. Mark Bancroft, a local builder who grew up on the lake was hired. He put a crane on a barge and took the team to the crash sight.

However, they were ordered to cease and desist by the Maine Attorney General's Office which had worked in conjunction with the Brunswick Naval Air Station, The U. S. Government and The British Government.

"They're war graves," said J. R. Phillips who as an historian for the Maine State Archives at the time.

The presence of the Corsairs on the bottom of Sebago Lake is intriguing to aircraft enthusiasts and summer visitors alike.

The pilots killed were Vaughn Reginald Gill and Raymond L. Knott.