Saturday, September 25, 2004


Papua New Guinea divers find P-38 WWII warplane in 'immaculate' condition


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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (21 Sep 2004) -- Native Papua New Guinea divers have found a sunken P-38 Lockheed Lightning WWII warplane in immaculate condition in Milne Bay, a renowned dive traveler destination.

Henry Katura and his father Remigus discovered the wreck of the P-38 airplane while diving for beche-de-mer.

Remigus said he remembered that as a child during World War II, he and other villagers heard the crash of an airplane that ditched into the ocean, but they never found the pilot.

Although the details of the crash are unknown, the near-perfect condition of the wreck indicates the pilot may have survived the crash.

According to a liveaboard operator in New Guinea who has already been diving on the wreck, the cockpit cover is missing, which supports the theory that the pilot escaped alive.

Divers in New Guinea have also recovered the P-38's radio call sign - '2-12649' - which led to military archives that show the plane took off from San Francisco on August 12, 1942 bound for the 5th Air Force USAAF in Australia.

Why it crashed in New Guinea four months later is part of the mystery that makes war wrecks so interesting for divers.

P-38 Lockheed Lightning. WWII warplane
in Milne Bay.

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