December 6, 2022

Truth or Hoax...Disappearence of F89

Oct. 18, 2006
Editor’s note: the following is a recap of a story being circulated among UFO buffs on the Internet. The existence of the “Great Lakes Dive Co.” could not be verified at press time.

Late on November 23, 1953 radar from Kinross airbase detected an unidentified flying object over Lake Superior. An F89 jet fighter with a crew of two, pilot Felix Moncla and radar observer Robert Wilson, were dispatched to investigate. At one point the radar images of the plane and the object appeared to merge and then they disappeared. What happened to the plane and the object it was sent to investigate has been a closely guarded secret for over 50 years.
I was asked at one time to interview one of the air force personnel on duty at the time, but he refused to reveal anything about the incident, saying it was classified. Now it appears that the plane and the object it collided with have both been found by the Great Lakes Dive Company. The wreckage is lying on the bottom of Lake Superior about 40 miles off Keweenaw Point just inside the US and Canadian border.
Dirk Vander Ploeg, the editor and publisher of and, obtained a censored copy of the government report for his published story of the incident. It reads in part “Aircraft took off at 2322 Zebra 23 Nov 53 on an active Air Defense Mission to intercept an unknown aircraft approximately 160 miles Northwest of Kinross Air Force Base. The aircraft was under radar control throughout the interception. At approximately 2352 Zebra the last radio contact was made by
the radar station controlling the interception. At approximately 2355 Zebra the unknown aircraft and the F-89 merged together on the radar scope. Shortly thereafter the IFF signal disappeared from the radar scope. No further contact was established with the F-89. (The next 16 or so letters as well as the entire next sentence have been blacked out by Air Force censors) An extensive aerial search has revealed no trace of the aircraft. The aircraft and its crew are still missing.”

Because it was late November, winter weather prevented further searches. Though the approximate location of where the plane was last observed on radar was known, its exact location had been a mystery until late last year.
According to information being circulated on the Internet, the engineers of Great Lakes Dive Company look for shipwrecks. Many treasure hunters gamble that an investment in an expedition will yield valuable finds. What the dive company investors were after was the treasure ship Gunilda which lies in over 200 feet of water. Unfortunately, they had difficulty with their new sonar equipment and once they got it working it was too late in the year. They decided instead to look for the missing F-89 where it was last reported. Sure enough, they found a plane, unmistakably an F-89 Scorpion – given that name because of the raised tail.
They returned to the site with side-scan sonar this summer and revealed the results in August. No other such plane is reported down in Lake Superior. The sunken plane’s canopy is intact, so there is no indication that the crew bailed out. One wing is sheered off. Close examination of the damaged tail confirmed the tail number.
They not only found the plane but their equipment located something else -- a half buried metallic object with the exposed part about 8-by-15 feet resembling the bulge often depicted at the center of a flying saucer. It’s not the missing wing of the F-89 and marks on it analyzed by enhanced imaging match the shape of the nacelle of the Scorpion in collision.
Vander Ploeg quotes Great Lakes Dive Co. spokesman Adam Jimenez in the August 29 issue of “We have not been able to confirm that the bodies of the two pilots are inside the aircraft”, explained Adam Jimenez, spokesman for the company, “but with the canopy intact, one would assume that would be the case. However, the ROV survey would tell the tale.” (Assuming that a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) is used on a follow-up search.)

It’s still mysterious how the wreckage could be as intact as it is. The collision must have happened at a slow speed. The Great Lakes Dive crew are eager to go back but they have run into a bureaucratic snag. The plane lies near the international border. The Canadians won’t let the diving company resume their search for the treasure ship without being told the exact location of the F-89. If they don’t go after the treasure ship -- the original purpose of their expedition -- the investors will be unhappy. The U.S. Coast Guard reportedly also wants to know the exact location of the plane and the mysterious UFO. They may lay claim to the salvage site.
Though many people believe the whole UFO thing is silly, it has a sinister side to it. It’s been the policy of the U.S. government to deny the existence of UFOs. That has only encouraged the cult phenomenon of UFO believers. There are rumors in the world of UFO aficionados that anyone who knows the facts and reveals them will be killed. Of note, the company’s website,, is no longer in service. Of course, conspiracy theorists will claim the Dive company was forced to shut down the web site on pain of death.
My daughter in New Mexico bought the home of a photographer who had been called to the scene of the UFO crash in Roswell. When he returned to the scene with his camera he discovered that all traces of the wreckage had been removed by the U.S. government. He himself refused to ever reveal what he saw there. Was he sworn to secrecy on pain of death? I suspect that the Great Lakes Dive people are afraid that the U.S. Coast Guard will seize anything they bring up from the F-89 site.
Fortunately, the photos are now posted on the World Wide Web and readily available. Just Google the Great Lakes Dive company
F-89 story and you’ll find pictures to prove their story.
The following is a response to the Internet stories provided by Brendon Baillod, a noted authority with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Research center in Wisconsin.

Evidence of a Hoax...

By Brendon Baillod

I have spent considerable time research-ing the claims of Adam Jimenez et al.  Mr. Jimenez is likely a 46-year-old Air Force employee from Oscoda, Michigan stationed at Wurtsmith AFB.  His website, which has been taken down, is registered to a P.O. box in Emeryville, CA.  That said, I do think his claims are based on an elaborate hoax. 
I do a great deal of wreck hunting on Lake Superior with side scan sonar and I’m very familiar with side scan technology.  My wreckhunting partner, Harry Zych, is a well known professional salvor based out of Chicago.  The sidescan we use (a digital Klein) costs over $100,000, as does the Seasmart ROV that we use for filming deep wrecks.  The only reason we can afford to search deep water in Lake Superior is that Harry has a successful marine salvage business, mostly under contract to major insurance companies.  I consider it unlikely that any avocational group could come in completely under the radar with the kind of pricey equipment necessary to do the searching claimed. 
Further, I am very active in Great Lakes wreck hunting and maritime history circles and I consider it very odd that I’ve never heard of Mr. Jimenez or his group.  The Great Lakes wreck hunting and maritime history community is very close knit and we all know each other. Jimenez would have to be extremely discreet in order to have done significant searches without anyone in the mainstream Great Lakes maritime community hearing about it.  I currently serve as a directory at large for the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, an umbrella organization com-prised of every Great Lakes museum, library and historical society.  None of the institutional members I spoke with had ever heard of Mr. Jimenez outside of the recent hype and none had ever met him.
That said, the sidescan images that were on the website seem to be authentic sidescan images.  However, I do believe Mr. Jimenez could have acquired them through his work with the Air Force.  His claim that the images were made with a traditional fish finder routed through Sharc2 software seems incredible, particularly in 500 feet of water.  I’ve scanned in 500 feet of water with a state of the art commercial sidescan and didn’t get images nearly as good as theirs.  Further, it’s generally necessary to use a depressor wing to get the fish deep enough to yield high resolution images of the kind shown.  That requires a power winch because almost 500 lbs of downward thrust is generated by most high quality deep towfish.  Their images were NOT generated from a hull mounted fish finder transducer.  They were definitely generated with a deep towfish IF they truly come from deep water.
I’ve also never heard of the Great Lakes Dive Company and I know a number of groups that are involved in deep work project like those stated by GLDC (French Minesweepers, Gunilda, etc).  None of those groups are familiar with Jimenez.  I personally think that if the claims were legitimate, you’d see additional peoples’ names associated with the claim and you’d see more images of the target on their website.  You’d also see them discussed on websites other than UFO and paranormal sites.  The fact that their chosen media outlets are the UFO and sensationalism sites suggests that they prefer to avoid scrutiny from the mainstream.
I also think it is unlikely that they could have found the plane based on the size of the search grid without being extremely lucky.  Lake Superior weather is notoriously bad and their stated reason for abandoning the mine sweeper search (late season weather) pretty much precludes a far offshore deepwater search.  The minesweeper search is far closer to shore and in safer waters than the Scorpion search grid.  The Scorpion grid is also VERY large and VERY far from shore.  They would have needed a few weeks on a large vessel to cover even a portion of the search grid.  Unless they have corporate sponsorship, or a wealthy benefactor, I consider the search unlikely. 

I must admit, I didn’t see their entire website before it was taken down and perhaps it would have provided more information.  It is possible that this group came out of nowhere and had fantastic luck with primitive equipment.  They definitely use terminology that suggests they are superficially familiar with search technology.  However, their claim that they used a fish finder with Sharc2 software to produce their images from 500 ft of water pretty much debunks it for me.  Also, their disappearing website suggests that this was a hoax.  I expect their website participated in a link click through program that generated revenue for them based on site traffic.  Mr. Jimenez may also have been told to take the site down by the Air Force, if he is still an employee.


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