Tour a Sunken WWII Bomber in This RC Submarine POV Video

You never know what’s under the surface of a random lake—unless you’ve got a sweet RC submarine.

byLewin Day|
YouTube | rctestflight
YouTube | rctestflight.


There are many great things hidden beneath the water, whether you're talking about the world's oceans or inland lakes. Diving is one way to explore, but a remote-controlled submarine can do the same job while keeping you dry, as one YouTuber demonstrates. But a fair warning for anyone suffering from thalassophobia—this one's not for you.

Daniel Riley has been exploring underwater for some time, documenting his escapades on his YouTube channel. His latest adventure involved exploring a World War II bomber that sank to the bottom of Lake Washington near Seattle.

Video thumbnail

Riley made his way to the wreck with the aid of a book titled Northwest Wreck Dives. It's a handy compact guide to a variety of shipwrecks and other points of underwater interest in the Puget Sound area. Armed with coordinates from the book, Riley set out to find the bomber on the lake floor. The effort was slightly frustrated by the presence of other boats in the area, which posed issues due to the submarine's tether cable. However, with some perseverance and navigation via the sub's compass, the aircraft was eventually hunted down.

The wreck is heavily rusted after decades spent underwater. However, many parts of the aircraft were still easily recognizable. The aircraft's radial engine stood out particularly clearly on the seabed. Visibility is only a few feet, but the sub was able to get up close and personal with various parts of the fuselage, wings, and cockpit.

It's haunting to see the yoke and seat unoccupied and encrusted with detritus, 150 feet below the surface. Other highlights include close-up shots of the bulbous gun turrets and a pitot sensor, as well as the fact that the wings remain surprisingly intact.

The bomber in question is a Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer, a naval version of the B-24 Liberator. It crashed in Lake Washington on Aug. 26, 1956. The cause of the accident was the crew failing to properly set the flaps, with the plane crashing shortly after takeoff. The 11-man crew was able to evacuate the plane via life rafts before it sank. An initial salvage effort raised the plane, only for a shackle pin to fail, sending the plane back to the deep, where it has rested ever since.

The craft used for the exploration effort is a QYSEA FiFish V6 Expert. It's an off-the-shelf remotely-operated vehicle, that comes complete with a 4K camera for high-resolution imaging underwater. It's controlled via a tether since radio signals propagate too poorly through water for effective video transmission and control. At one point, this complicated the mission, when the tether became snagged on part of the aircraft. Thankfully, some careful piloting freed the vehicle from this trap.

Beyond the plane, Riley also shows us the other joys of playing with a remote-operated sub. He uses the sub to find other items abandoned on the floor of Lake Union, recovering them with the aid of a claw fitted to the sub. The first item recovered is a disgusting shovel. More advanced recovery efforts netted a Veo bike and multiple Lime scooters, using the robot's claw to snag a secondary rope over the items. Amazingly, one of them even powered up.

If you've got the cash for an advanced remote-control sub, you can likely have hours of fun in your local lakes. As a bonus, you might even manage to clean up your local waterways from the scourge of abandoned rental bikes, and that's surely a good thing. However, remember that some underwater escapades may require clearance from local authorities—or in some cases even federal agencies. Riley may or may have not gone through the process of requesting these for his latest adventure, but regardless, it's something you should keep in mind.

Got a tip? Let the author know: