6 May 1966 – A USMC McDonnell RF-4B-24-MC Phantom II, BuNo 153090, of VMCJ-3, MCAS El Toro, CA, was on an out-and-back familiarization flight from MCAS Yuma, Arizona, when it was lost approximately 2 miles off of Del Mar, California in the Pacific. The pilot got into an aerobatic maneuver stall. Both crewmembers ejected.
The cause of the accident was determined as pilot factor in that he failed to control the aircraft properly resulting in a spin. He then failed to execute properly the spin recovery technique. His instrument scan and awareness of what his airplane was doing were also seriously deficient.
The wreckage discovered in 1994 by the UB88 dive group (1). Less than two miles off the coast of Del Mar, California, lay the wreck of an F-4 Phantom II jet aircraft. The F-4 was discovered incidentally in 1994 during a sonar search for a downed plane carrying over $100 million in bank receipts. Bank of America hired Dave Miller to locate the plane and its contents in the waters off San Diego, CA.
When Miller was unable to locate the plane in shallow water he hired Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to complete the search. Off the coast of Del Mar, SAIC found the F-4 Phantom and a nearby P-38 Lightning. Both targets were later identified with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The plane carrying the bank receipts was eventually found between 400-700′ off La Jolla Canyon in late summer 1994. (2)