While many wrecks are intentionally sunk off of the O’ahu to serve as artificial reefs, this wreck was the real deal.
Despite being a true plane wreck in its original location of doom, the Corsair Plane didn’t have a very dramatic end, at least as far as plane crashes go. A routine mission in 1948 ended abruptly when the WWII aircraft started to sputter. As the engine began to fail, the seasoned pilot managed to make a smooth water landing, wheels up, flaps slightly extended. The pilot was rescued bobbing nearby in his lifejacket, the plane wasn’t even damaged.
But even though the aircraft was intact, it wasn’t buoyant. Despite the soft landing, it still ended up at the bottom of the ocean. After decades underwater, the plane is no longer such a pretty corpse, but of course that’s a matter of opinion. Divers, photographers, and a unique garden eel population beg to differ.
The dive site is considered advanced, and boats and a guide are required. The wreck lies at about 115 feet in an area known for unpredictably strong and swift currents. Divers must descend using the anchor line and swim about 30 feet to the wreck. The depth of the site produces a short bottom time of about 15 minutes and four-minute decompression stop so divers should monitor their air gauges closely. Along with the garden eels, jacks and stingrays frequent the site.
Know Before You Go
The Corsair airplane wreck of O'ahu is located approximately 3 miles out from the Hawai'i Kai marina which is on O'ahu’s south-east side. The Corsair plane wreck sits in 115 feet of blue Pacific Hawaiian waters in an upright position facing south west with the tail of the airplane pointing towards Koko Head.( 151 feet (46.02 meters) above sea level) Getting out to the Corsair plane wreck takes about 15 minutes so as long as you are departing from the Koko boat marina located in the Hawai'i Kai shopping center.