One of the world’s top underwater cameramen, Michael Pitts, has teamed up with divers who monitor the sunken Sunderland flying boat in the Milford Haven Waterway to take dramatic images of the wartime survivor.
Michael, who assignments take him to fabulous locations and crystal clear waters all over the world, joined members of the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust Dive Group on the Sunderland, which sank 73 years ago in a gale.
It was Michael’s second sortie on Sunderland T9044, having filmed in 2011 alongside historian Dan Snow for ‘The One Show’ programme.
This time Michael gave his time and expertise completely free in support of the Sunderland Trust and its Dive Group members who monitor and recover items from the site. He took both film and still photographs on this occasion.
After diving throughout the day with the Group’s Dive Officer Nick Hammond and another very experienced diver, Welsh aviation historian Steve Jones, Michael was pleased with what he had taken.
“Visibility was up to three metres and the conditions were much better than I experienced when filming for ‘The One Show’. Nevertheless it was still difficult to get really decent shots. It’s always a really challenging dive,” said Michael.
He plans to link up again with the Dive Group to take more film of the Sunderland, the only Mark I survivor in the world.
Nick Hammond added: “Michael’s support is a big boost for us. He is so interested in our unique project and to be able to dive with him, and show him our Sunderland, is tremendous. In the conditions it is very hard for the Group to get good images and film of the aircraft and thanks to Michael we now have some excellent material.”
Michael dived from the dive boat ‘Blue Thunder’ which is operated from the Haven by brothers Will and John Fenneberg, both members of the Sunderland Trust Dive Group. In support were Rik Saldanha and Julie and Dai Humphreys.
Michael Pitts (left) on board ‘Blue Thunder’ with a newly recovered piece of glazing from the front turret of Sunderland T9044. With him are Steve Jones and Nick Hammond (right).
PICTURE: Rik Saldanha