An airplane crash landed in the ocean about a mile from the end of the runway on the morning of July 19, 2006. It was a DC3 airplane, registration number N782T. Luckily all four people on board were relatively unharmed and jumped out of the plane into the water. They were picked up by a tour boat whose captain heard the distress call from the plane.

Now St. Thomas has an excellent new dive site, and this one has an extraordinary history attached to it that spans back to 1942 when the plane was built. After construction at the Douglas factory in Santa Monica California, the plane was delivered to the U.S. Air Force, where she would operate with the Mighty 8th Air Force in England during World War II. Back then she would have been referred to as a C-47 Douglas Skytrain, and was probably used to transport troops and supplies between airfields.

After the end of World War II, she was renamed as a DC3 and returned home to the USA and was sold to the American Oil Company. In 1955 the plane was re-registered to number N722A, and this is where the plot thickens. In 1976 she was on lease to a Malaysian airline named Pan Malaysia Air Transportation, a company that seems to have been used as a cover for CIA operations.

In the late 1980s the plane was purchased by Tol Air Services, a cargo company based in Puerto Rico. She was given her final registration number of N782T, which is still visible on the tail of the airplane.

This illustrious history came to a sad end in 2006 on the 19th of July when she carried out her final landing on the Caribbean sea, floated for a while, and then pitched over nose first and dove to the bottom of the ocean. She now sits on the sand, 105 feet beneath the waves, about a mile from the end of the runway for St. Thomas’ airport.

You can read the local newspaper account of the crash of the DC3 airplane on July 19th 2007 here.

The DC3 Airplane wreck segment in “Diving St. Thomas, Volume 1” features the interior of the plane, including the cargo bay and the cockpit, along with the exterior of the plane.


This website is a loving tribute to our fish and other sea life comrades and the gorgeous colorful sea world they inhabit.