UPDATED: PBY Beached During Filming of WWII Movie

  • Jun 30, 2015 2:09pm GMT

Off the coast of Orange Beach, AL, a hastily restored (i.e., to Hollywood's liking) PBY Catalina began taking on water. The aircraft is currently being used in the making of the movie, "USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage" featuring Nicholas Cage.

The beaching was an effort to save the aircraft as it began to take on water. Occurring directly in front of the iconic Flora-Bama lounge on Monday, June 29, it was reported that director, Mario Van Peebles had debating continuing filming around the beached aircraft.

Efforts to retrieve the PBY initially failed when cables attached to two tractors on the beach snapped. There is currently no time-line as to how or when the aircraft will be brought to shore. Pumps on board the aircraft continue to run in an effort to remove the water.

UPDATE: 7/3/15 1800PST

Despite efforts to rescue the beached PBY, movie producers chose to continue filming with the aircraft in its current state about 100ft offshore. As the 4th of July weekend approached, filming wrapped and a barge was brought in to provide other means of rescuing the aircraft.

Unfortunately, as the PBY was being lifted aboard the barge, the fuselage appears to have snapped into three pieces; the forward fuselage, wing and center section and the rear fuselage forward of the observation bubbles. Viewing the images, the aircraft is a total loss.

Movie producers released the following statement:

"We are thankful that no one was hurt. The pilot and co-pilot are well. And the entire cast and crew are safe and sound. The Vintage PBY being used by production met a tragic end at the hands of the sea yesterday, and the salvage company was unable to save the aircraft. The PBY will be immortalized in the film, as will the unfortunate events surrounding the USS Indianapolis and the rescue teams from the US Navy. God Bless America. Freedom isn't free. With our collective respect and gratefulness, our heart shouts out for our military, and their families, in harm’s way. Happy July 4th and God Bless the USA."