US team searches for remains of servicemen in Madang


AN American team is in Madang to help find downed American World War II aircraft that may have the remains of United States servicemen.
Called Project Recover, the work aims to use 21st Century technology in a search that hopes to bring to a final closure any remaining anxiety relatives may have.
In a statement yesterday, Project Recover executive director Katy O’Connell said the project was a collaborative effort to look in seas in the area using science and technology.
“Earlier this year, the team researched areas in the Madang Lagoon and Astrolabe Bay which they described as successful,” she said.
“They will continue in Madang from the end of September to mid-October, utilising the (boat) Kalibobo Spirit.”
O’Connell said they would search mainly in the Hansa Bay area north of Bogia where it was understood a number of American aircraft crashed.
During the war, Hansa Bay was a major Japanese naval base and transit station, between the Wewak region and southeastern bases, with the  airfields and encampments of Awar and Nubia  located nearby.
There are more than 30 Japanese and American shipwrecks in the waters in the area, the result of fierce fighting in what became known as the Battle of Madang.
O’Connell said they would conduct oceanographic surveys and dive operations on targets around the waters of the bay and talk to local people to get information on any possible aircraft that may have crashed there.
“The team is composed of researchers from the University of Delaware, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the non-profit organisation The Bent Prop Project,” she said.
“The goal of the project is to locate aircraft crash sites associated with US personnel who remain missing as a result of World War II, document those sites, and correlate sites to known losses.
“The research is designed in such a way as to not disturb the sites.
“The findings are shared with local authorities in-country, and with the US government, who then use the information to identify and possibly recover human remains.”

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