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© Dan Janisse
OPP boat near the Leamington Marina in Leamington, Ont., June 6, 2011. Three bodies were recovered near a breakwall that their boat struck Sunday evening.
More than 70 years after it went down, a Second World War aircraft has been discovered in the depths of Lake Muskoka, it was announced Tuesday.

The Ontario Provincial Police, Department of National Defence, the provincial Heritage Ministry and the Lost Airmen of Muskoka Project confirmed that the A-17 Nomad that crashed following a mid-air collision in 1940 was discovered in the lake.

Although the announcement was made this week, the wreckage was first discovered a year ago, in July 2010, by an OPP underwater search crew using sonar.

A remotely operated vessel was later used to explore the site, some 150 kilometres north of Toronto, and the two-seater aircraft was identified as one that went down on Dec. 13, 1940. It was searching for another plane when the collision took place.

The personal belongings of the plane's occupants - 24-year-old Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Peter Campbell and 27-year-old observer Theodore Bates - were removed from site by police dive teams.

The OPP and the coroner's office ruled the missing persons case closed and say the remains of the men are not recoverable.

An investigation by the Department of National Defence is continuing and all personal belongings - which are being treated for preservation - will be given to the men's families once the process is completed.

The exact location of the site is being kept secret to protect the wreckage.