“Although I owned a boat, I had no sonar, metal detector or any practical method of surveying the ocean bottom. With an incurable illness, no prospect of financial reward, little chance of success, brain surgery looming, and one child in college with another about to start, I was not in a position to spend thousands of dollars on a search. Still, desperate for a distraction, anything to pry my focus away from the disease, I decided—the hell with Parkinson’s. I’m doing it.” - From The Lost Intruder
On a windy, Autumn day in 1989, a U.S. Navy A-6 Intruder crashed off the shores of Whidbey Island, Washington. The Navy mounted a comprehensive, four-ship search for the attack jet with advanced sonar systems and remotely operated mini-submarines. They came up empty handed.
Former Navy pilot Peter Hunt knew the lost Intruder well. The jet came from his squadron; he had flown it from the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ranger. Standing in the squadron ready room, Hunt listened to the radio transmissions as the accident unfolded: the hydraulic malfunction, the aborted mission, the futile attempt to lower the landing gear, and finally the violent ejection into Puget sound. Puzzled by the failed Navy search, Hunt long imagined the thrill of finding the A-6 and accomplishing what the U.S. Navy could not.
But time was running out. At age 43, Hunt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. After ten years of worsening symptoms, no longer permitted to fly, and barely able to scuba dive, Hunt knew that he was losing the battle. Desperate for a rallying point to prove to himself that life still mattered, Hunt struck out in 2014 to find the missing A-6. Naval Aviation, deep technical wreck diving, high seas exploration, and one man’s optimistic refusal to quit converge in a salute to life’s possibility. The Lost Intruder soars in a triumph of the human spirit—see what it means to be alive.
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About the Author
Peter Hunt's fascination with history and the underwater world began as a child while living in Greece for six years, where his parents were teachers at the American Community School in Athens. He began spearfishing at age 10 and spent most summer days exploring the Greek coast where it was not uncommon to run across amphora and other relics of antiquity on the sea floor. After returning to the United States, Hunt immediately enrolled in his first scuba class in 1978, earned an open water certification, and began working at a local Long Island dive store and eventually as a crewmember on the store's wreck diving charter boat during weekends. In the spring of 1982, Peter Hunt met Steve Bielenda and was offered a position as a crewmember on the Wahoo He continued to explore New York area shipwrecks, including four successful expeditions to the Andrea Doria, over the course of the next four years. Hunt has been a PADI Divemaster since 1984, is IANTD trimix and technical diving certified, and has made over 1,000 dives around the world. Peter Hunt graduated from Brown University with a history degree in 1985 before joining the Navy and training as an A-6 Intruder attack pilot. He completed three aircraft carrier deployments to the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, and Western Pacific during ten years of military service. After leaving the Navy, Hunt continued to fly as a pilot for a major international airline until being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2005 at age forty-three. Hunt holds a Masters Degree from the University of Washington, lives with his wife and two children on Whidbey Island, and still dives despite the progression of Parkinson's disease. His first book, Angles of Attack (Ballantine 2002), is a pilot's account of combat operations during the first Gulf War.