On September 14, 1944 a PB2Y-3 Coronado’ nicknamed 'Gunga Din' was practicing landings at Kwajalein Atoll, near the seaplane base at Ebeye Island, when the plane crashed and broke in half directly behind the wing.
The two sections of the plane floated on the water for about 30 minutes before sinking. There were 13 people on board, and all survived except one.
Fred M. Matson, PhM1c, USN, was in the forward bunking compartment in the nose of the plane. The section Matson was trapped in was about 15 feet below the surface, and several attempts were made to dive down and extricate him before the front half of the plane sank. These efforts were to no
In 2007 a side-scan sonar survey was conducted by Bill Remick in the area the plane is believed to have sunk in, but nothing was found. The plane is reported to have crashed two to three miles from Ebeye Island.
On August 7, 2015 an additional side scan sonar survey showed what was thought to be the tail section of Gunga Din. On August 9, 2015 members of our Dive Team including Remick, project leader Dan Farnham and Brad Mitchell dove and verified the location of the tail section of Gunga Din. This means the nose section, with Matson will not be far off. When the nose section is found with Matson, that information will immediately be turned over to Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). Please follow our updates on FB and Twitter as we continue to look for Matson and the additional planes with MIA's in our lagoon. Let's bring them all home!