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article imageWorld War II fighter plane retrieved from Lake Michigan

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 9, 2012 in World
Waukegan - A World War II fighter plane has been pulled from the bottom of Lake Michigan. Now that the relic has been extracted, it is hoped the plane will go on public display in Chicago.

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

A FM-2 "Wildcat" World War II-era fighter plane has been pulled out of Lake Michigan. According to Fox News (via Associated Press), the plane had crashed during aircraft-carrier training on Dec. 28, 1944. At the time, the accident was deemed to have been caused by engine failure.
The recovery was sponsored by the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and financial support was given by Charles Greenhill, 78, a U.S. Army veteran, who owns a hangar in Kenosha, Wis. He has helped restore other WWII-era planes.
The "Wildcat", made by General Motors, weighed about 5,448 pounds when empty, but could weigh up to 8,271 pounds when prepared for a mission, as indicated by the U.S. Navy website.
NBC News Chicago reported the plane went down in approximately 200 feet of water. World War II pilot and future president George H. Bush was a part of the training that was being conducted at Lake Michigan at the time the plane went down. The aircraft carriers used for the "Wildcat" training were docked at Chicago's Navy Pier.
It is hoped the recovered FM-2 "Wildcat" Fighter will eventually go on display in the Chicago area after it is undergoes a "complete" restoration. The plane has been described as being in remarkable condition considering where it's been for almost 70 years.
"It puts tears in your eyes," Vernon Cravero, 88, a bomber pilot in the Pacific in World War II, told the Chicago Tribune.
When asked why he invests in this type of restoration, Greenhill told CBS News, “It’s so important to have these airplanes available for the public to see, so people can appreciate what happened back in this era,” he said. “If this thing laid in the lake, it would just be completely forgotten. It would be junk.”
The Tribune reported 31 World War II planes have been pulled out of Lake Michigan.
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