The aircraft was bought from the US Navy by Thomas W Kendall, a retired businessman who converted it to a luxury flying yacht.
In the spring of 1960 Mr Kendall took a pleasure trip around the world with his wife and children together with his secretary and her son. A photographer joined the group to cover part of the trip for life magazine.
On the 22nd March 1960 they landed at the Strait of Tirana and anchored the aircraft a short distance from the shore to spend the night there. They heard someone shouting but did not pay any attention.
In the afternoon of the following day they were attacked with machine guns and automatic firearms from a headland nearby. The children were able to swim back to the aircraft. Mr Kendal and his secretary were wounded while trying to start the Catalina but moved it about 800 metres, unfortunately it ran aground on a coral reef.