Takeover Week: Bomb Island (Zack)
Thursday, 12th July 2007 by James Turnbull
Welcome to day four of Google Sightseeing Reader Takeover Week! Every day this week, one of you has been chosen to have their very own sight posted here on GSS, while Alex and James take a well deserved holiday. Today’s sight is from Zack!
Bomb Island, also named Lunch Island, is located in Lake Murray which is west of Columbia, South Carolina.
A 1.5-mile-long earthen dam, the largest in the world when it was built, created Lake Murray, named for William S. Murray, chief engineer for the project.
The Purple Martin roost on Bomb Island is the largest roost in North America with 700,000 to 800,000 birds present at the peak of pre-migration in late July. A most unusual event happens each year as thousands of Purple Martins return to this island to roost for the summer. The island has been declared a bird sanctuary and it is quite a sight to watch these birds return to Bomb Island each day around sunset. People around the lake construct Purple Martin houses, or clusters of gourds, to attract the nesting birds. Purple Martins are the largest North American member of the swallow family and, like other swallows; their diet consists of flying insects.
Pilots in World War 2 used Bomb Island and surrounding islands for bombing practice. Some of these bomber crews flew with General James H. Doolittle’s Raiders on April 18, 1942 when they bombed Tokyo.
Sixty–two years after plunging into Lake Murray, one of the last remaining Army Air Corps warplanes has been rescued from 150 feet beneath the lake’s surface. The final day of the airplane is well known. After flying out of the Columbia Army Air Base on April 4, 1943, the now–rare B–25C Bomber crashed and sank in the man–made lake during a skip–bombing training mission. The military crew escaped the aircraft, which had lost power, and brought it to rest upright, with damage to only the right engine. The crew survived and was rescued. The airplane will be at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama. There, the plane will be restored, conserved, and displayed in its public museum.