Our scientific expedition team spent seven days scouring the Atlantic Ocean for the lost Mariner aircraft using side scan sonar and a magnetometer. Initially, I had requested a two-week window for our search but constraints on the resourcing of the project limited our group to one week. As we established our search area using GPS and Hypack, the goal was to "mow the lawn" around the Naval coordinates. Because of our short window out on site, our entire search pattern and our resources were predicated on the Naval coordinates being somewhat accurate.
As we thoroughly examined over 5 square miles around the Navy's coordinates, over one hundred acoustical anomalies were detected by the side-scan sonar, about 5 magnetic anomalies were found by the magnetometer and several targets were examined by our divers. Mark Padover, our technical expert from Aqua Survey (as well as myself) have continued with examining all data collected and we will be putting together our findings for a final Naval Historical Center report by the spring of 2006. Although we did not find the huge, potentially intact engines and tail sections of the airplane, we do not have conclusive evidence that any of the supplemental targets might not be that of our Mariner. The last magnetic hit that we got about an hour before we ended our search was very interesting and would of been a good target for our divers to visit.
In conclusion, we found some very interesting acoustical and magnetic targets. We dove one major piece that we were not able to conclusively rule as a piece from the Mariner. That does not mean that we didn't find a piece of the Mariner, just that we could not identify it as such. In a project debrief, it was felt by all the scientists that we were extremely satisfied with all the search patterns and decisions based on establishing the location of the aircraft. We were all in agreement that had we done the project again, the exact same logic and methodologies would of been followed and applied. I would like to send a personal thanks to NBC, namely Tim Beacham, Jon Schreiber and Lester Holt, for their support on this wonderful project.