American plane has sat abandoned on Saudi Arabian beach for 60 years

  • This Catalina sea plane was abandoned in Saudi Arabia around 60 years ago
  • The plane was caught in the crossfire of an armed conflict
  • The owner managed to get out of the situation, but the plane didn’t

Published on Jul 09, 2024 at 8:20 PM (UTC+4)
by Alessandro Renesis

Last updated on Jul 10, 2024 at 1:37 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

There’s an abandoned Catalina sea plane that’s been collecting rust and sand for over 60 years in Saudi Arabia.

The plane in question was abandoned on a beach near the Straits of Tiran in Saudi Arabia, and the story behind it is quite traumatic.

READ MORE: Skyscraper as tall as the Eiffel Tower to be built in Saudi Arabia’s desert ski resort

The plane is – or perhaps we should say ‘was’ – a Catalina PBY-5A, very similar to the one that set an unbeatable record for the longest time in the air.

Legend has it that the plane used to belong to Thomas W. Kendall, an aviation icon with over 50 years of experience.

Kendall was in Saudi Arabia with his family, when the unexpected happened, and they had to leave the plane behind

What happened to the plane?

Kendall landed on the beach on March 22, 1960 and back then, the Straits of Tiran were a political hotspot.

He safely landed the plane but one day later, he and his family were caught in the crossfire when a fight between different factions erupted.

His children were unharmed, while Kendall and his wife were wounded.

Fortunately, none of them died, but the plane was grounded for good.

They tried to retrieve it, but it had run aground, and so they had to leave it where it was.

The location of abandoned Catalina plane

The plane has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in the Strait, and pictures of it are available on Flickr, shared by photographer kendo1938.

The Catalina plane can easily be found with Google Maps, located in Ras Gasabah, also known as Ras Alsheikh Hamid, a deserted headland in the Gulf of Aqaba in Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf of Aqaba, for reference, is also supposed to be the starting point of ‘The Line‘, the grandiose Saudi Arabian project that has been beset by controversy.

But that’s a different conversation for another day.


Alessandro Renesis

Experienced content creator with a strong focus on cars and watches. Alessandro penned the first-ever post on the Supercar Blondie website and covers cars, watches, yachts, real estate and crypto. Former DriveTribe writer, fixed gear bike owner, obsessed with ducks for some reason.