In 2014, ten miles off shore, MBARI scientists were conducting a standard sweep of the Monterey Bay when several large objects appeared on the sonar.
"It looked like pieces of a jet engine. So they decided to recover a couple of the pieces and brought them back to me and see if I could identify if it was a jet engine and where it was from," said MBARI Marine Operations Deputy Director Chris Grech.
Chris put his search for answers on hold. That was until this year.
"I was over in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum looking at jet engines and the aviation there. I got inspired to start it up again and locate this jet engine," said Grech.
Photos of the debris were posted on an aviation website, it was then that clues came flooding in.
"It was kind of remarkable some of the blogs that were going on about the pieces they recovered. They identified the pieces of the jet engine right away. And identified it for what plane it was," said Grech.
It was confirmed that the engine came from an F8 Crusader Jet.
"It’s quite an impressive aircraft. One of the last gun fighters. Because it was a jet used in Korea and Vietnam. It had guns on it so it would be used in gunfights," said Grech.
The goal now is to try to match the exact plane with the engine. Looking through old naval records they do know that six of those planes did go down in the area.
“Some of these pilots that ejected did survive and were rescued, but some didn't make it either. So at this stage were trying to identify which aircraft number is associated with this jet engine," said Grech.
And some of the best information is coming from Monterey Bay fishermen.
"I’ve located a fisherman who is an eyewitness to a mid-air collision in 1960. And I talked to him yesterday about it. We're trying to map those out and compare with navy records were trying to locate," said Grech.
Uncovering the oceans secrets, one story at a time.
"It's kind of a time capsule when you go down and look at these periods of aviation that are somewhat lost," said Grech.