Every now and then, it seems as if nature acts up to remind humanity who’s really in charge of the planet. For untold centuries, the seas have been home to some of mankind’s various achievements, mostly in boats. Yet it’s also claimed planes, cars and just about any other vehicle imaginable. Whether by a wreck or a storm, the ocean floors are littered with modern machines scattered about. This has made them very popular with divers and some areas actually use that to increase tourism. Even some lakes can boast some cars or other vehicles that made a bad fall.
It’s always fascinating to see these vehicles that once dominated the roads or the air now underwater wrecks. Some still look very good as if ready to take off driving or flying with just a little tune-up. Others are complete wrecks that have become part of the ocean. Either way, it’s amazing seeing these wrecks in such a strange condition. Here are 25 photos of cars, boats and planes underwater that never cease to amaze.
25 Nose Dive
It’s the placement that makes this so striking. This F4U Corsair was part of a huge campaign in 1945 to reclaim the Marshall Islands. The entire area is littered with numerous planes shot down during the conflict. Yet somehow, this Corsair landed nose first right in the sand and has been standing upright for 70 years. That bizarre pose makes it so notable for a plane that stuck a truly weird landing.
24 Fish Seats
The seas are odd in that some areas can keep cars in near pristine shape while other areas can turn them into messes. This car clearly landed in the latter category as the warmth and wide sea life have allowed coral to cover it almost totally. The blue screens hint there was still power to it while the fish life floating around could care less. It’s a striking view of how the best technology is helpless when confronted by the seas.
23 Pablo’s Plane
Pablo Escobar loved to flaunt his wealth, including a fleet of private planes. His home at Norman’s Cay was a fortress yet all his money couldn’t stop one plane from crashing just short of the runway. The Cay was seized by authorities after Escobar’s reign ended but the Curtiss C-46 Commando remains where it had crashed. It’s a good spot for divers to explore a plane that once belonged to a famous criminal.
22 Taking a Drive
One can’t blame this diver for sitting in the seat of this sunken truck. It appears to have been either a trooper carrier or a storage container and probably fell off from a sunken ship. The wheel itself looks huge and so much of the rest of the truck is gone. The diver looks like she’s enjoying herself imagining what it would be like to drive this thing underwater when it’s not budging an inch.
21 Going Dutch
Dutch Springs is a popular diving spot in Pennsylvania that’s home to various underwater items. A few were placed there on purpose yet it’s easy to think this van somehow crashed into the spring. The way the front end is smashed open and doors cracked adds to the idea and it’s hard to imagine it could be placed so well on its own. Either way, it’s another reason teh Springs attracts so many divers.
20 Zany Zenobia
The MS Zenobia is a popular site for divers. This Swedish ship capsized off the coast of Cyrus in 1980 and now lies on its side 140 feet under the surface. Its contents spilled out during the long listing before it sank and so include these two massive trucks lying perfectly on their sides next to each other. The entire wreck is one of the most popular in the world with the cars just a special addition to the epic area.
19 The Legend
Any list of the greatest underwater boats must include the Titanic. It had been hoped that when legendary liner was finally discovered, it would still be in good enough shape to salvage. Sadly, the reality was that the Titanic had broken in two and the remains in very bad shape. Rust covers it along with sea life, much of it is falling apart and it seems ready to simply rot away. Yet there’s still a haunting majesty to this ship to remind people why it’s the most famous shipwreck in history.
18 Still Roving
Driving on the cliffside overlooking a lake or bay is always a risk. It looks like the owners of this Jeep found that out the hard way with their vehicle going off the road to land into this lake (thankfully, they’re okay). The impact ruined the entire body to break the hood and engine open although the passenger end looks okay. It shows the risks of cliffside driving majorly.
17 Welsh Wonder
Dayhouse Quarry is a dolomite quarry found on the cusp of the Wales-England border by Chepstow. The quarry ran dry and was shut down in the 1990s but has found a new life as the locals have dropped various trucks into it for exploring. So divers can enjoy things like this old dump truck looking rather good alongside double-decker buses and other distinctly British vehicles in a freshwater setting.
16 Crash Hard
Some planes that crash underwater are able to look pretty okay afterward. This cargo plane was not so lucky. It seems to have hit the bottom a few times, each jarring shaking it apart and shattering it further. The result is the cockpit having been broken off and shot forward while the rest of the plane is buried in the silt. There’s no way to free it for salvage and proof of how bad an underwater landing can be.
15 No Mirage
In 2011, a pair of Greek pilots were taking their Mirage 2000 fighter plane out for a training exercise. The plane had a severe malfunction with both pilots forced to eject. The Mirage itself landed almost perfectly off the island of Samos. A full salvage operation recovered it and recorded these amazing images of a pristine plane just sitting on the seabed. It’s a remarkable sight of a modern jet turned into another underwater wreck.
14 Chopper Down
Helicopters aren’t as commonly found underwater but they still pop up now and then. This one appears to have been lost during a conflict overseas and has clearly suffered with its rotors long broken off. It looks like much of the interior has been worn away by sea life yet the fact it landed perfectly upright makes it haunting. Once more, a case of an aircraft that looks like it’s vainly trying to take off underwater.
13 No Love For This Bug
The VW is always connected to the Herbie the Love Bug Disney movies. There actually was one such film where Herbie is pushed off a ship yet somehow survives a trip in the ocean. Sadly, this real VW was not so lucky. It clearly suffered on its fall down with one hubcap broken off and moss settled into the engine. It’s a sad sight for what was probably a fun vehicle in its prime.
12 Underwater Fender Bender
This is one of those images that’s so accidental that it becomes hilarious. It looks for all the world as if this car was driving underwater and somehow ended up crashing into a pile of reef. The way the front end is crashed in, the “fencing” on the ground, all you need is a cop pulling up to complete the picture. How it ended up in this odd position is unknown which just makes it a more striking image.
11 Subway Run
New Yorkers all have their various “subway stories” but few could match this. When the old Redbird subway cars were decommissioned, rather than destroying them, the New York Transit Authority had the wild idea of using them to create artificial reefs across the East Coast. So from New York to South Carolina, divers can explore subway cars such as this with fish about them. Some New Yorkers might crack they’re in better shape than the cars the NYC Subway uses today...
10 Ready to Fly
Usually, planes that crashed underwater are in a very bad state as it was obviously unplanned. What makes this jetliner striking is how, in many ways, it looks like it was coming in for a regular landing. Not only is the landing gear extended but the stairs leading into the plane have lowered as if prepared to welcome passengers. It’s a haunting picture of a plane that seems ready to take off for a destination it will never reach.
9 Bussed Out
Buses found underwater are always an odd sight. The most common way they got there was a sunken cargo ship. But that doesn’t make up for how a vehicle used in suburbs found its way to the bottom of the sea. This one clearly suffered stuck in the muck with the attacks by the sea life. It’s pretty easy to make up a “school of fish” joke yet it’s striking to see a bus falling apart underwater more than other types of cars.
8 Deep Chop Shop
Seeing a fully formed car underwater is one thing. But the bare-bones of two of them is very odd. It’s almost as if some chop shop needed to get rid of the evidence before a raid and so threw these into the ocean. That or some sea life was very adept taking these cars apart. It’s a bizarre sight of two car frames lying in the sea as if waiting for the rest of the vehicle to join them.
7 Cruel Cargo
Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, weather forecasts weren’t as exact as they are today. Thus, more than one pilot found himself unknowing flying into a severe storm and paid for it. It looks like this cargo plane suffered the same fate, hitting the water hard with the cracked front end bearing the brunt of the landing. It’s unique how it landed almost perfectly on the sea bed and its cargo no doubt long lost following this crash.
6 A Royal Wreck
At first glance, one would assume this Hercules cargo plane crashed into the ocean falling a rough flight. In reality, Jordan’s King Abdullah II had the plane carefully placed off the coast in hopes of increasing tourism by divers. It’s worked as divers enjoy swimming and exploring this near-pristine plane and the fact it’s more intact than others on this list helps it stand out more. It was deliberate but still a notable underwater plane.
5 Water Muscle
A recent trend has been to take wrecked cars and put them on coral reefs in hopes they can rebuild the strength of the reefs and help the oceans. Someone picked a classic muscle car and it’s astounding to see it stuck in this underwater world. The coral has clearly become part of the car and vice versa to show how it’s become home for sea life.
4 Ice Yacht
In 2012, journalist João Lara Mesquita was taking a crew to Antarctica on the Mar Sem Fim (“Endless Sea”) to film a documentary. They ran into a storm which capsized the boat and the crew barely managed to escape. The ship itself was sunk and for over a year, photographers loved to get images of this fantastic yacht lying just under the surface. It was finally raised up in 2013 yet it still stands as a wild sight of a pristine yacht trapped under the icy water.
3 Hidden Harley
This was a shipping boat that ended up losing cargo in a storm. As it happens, it’s on a coral reef and a decision was made to leave this Harley-Davidson here to help the reef rebuild. It looks like it was a classic machine in its time and no doubt ready to ride the roads hard. Instead, it’s not become part of the wreck with coral and rust covering it totally. It’s always sad seeing a great Harley bike treated this way but the seas can be cruel.
2 Seriously Off-Road
It looks like this car may have fallen off a cargo ship except there was no actual ship located near its area. Instead, it’s a classic sedan stuck at the bottom and actually not in too much bad shape. The glass is still intact and it appears as if all one needs is to wipe out the coral and give it an engine overhaul to get it going. It’s amazing how it looks like it just got stuck on this hill while driving underwater to make it a unique sight.
1 Army Surplus
A common sight in some parts of the ocean are the remains of ships sunk during World War II. Such is the case with this set of jeeps collapsed at the bottom of the sea. They still appear to be in pretty good shape after all this time underwater yet a throwback to a much different era. This showcases how a simple torpedo is what it took to send this ship to the bottom and trap these cars forever in an underwater grave.
Sources: pinterest.com, chron.com, jalopnik.com, nationalgeographic.com