67 years after a transport plane went missing, a team of experts from the United States will carry out a recovery mission in forests of Ganddachara in Tripura’s remote Dhalai district to trace the remains of 55 airmen.
Experts from Joint Prisoners of War / Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Accounting Command under US government and officials of the India’s external affairs ministry arrived in Agartala on Wednesday ahead of search in the site of a major air crash during World War II.
“This is first expedition in Tripura. Earlier, wreckages of three war planes and several human remains recovered in Arunachal Pradesh”, senior MEA official Amit Kumar Mishra said. He informed several hundred US airmen died during and after the world war in aircraft crashes in northeast India.
The search mission in Tripura was earlier deferred by Indian authorities owing to undisclosed reasons. However Indian government gave a ‘go ahead’ after persistent requests by the US government through diplomatic channels.
Clayton Kuhles, founder of MIA Recoveries, was first to discover propeller of ill fated C-47B at a place called Birmanipara at Ganddachara in 2009. The aircraft during its journey from Rangoon to Kolkata on May 17 1946 came down after falling prey to heavy storms.
“The flight had three crews and eight US military officials besides remains of 47soldiers who died in Burma sector during war”, a Dhalai district official said quoting from a communication received from the MEA. Tripura government has accepted a request from New Delhi to provide security and extend hospitality to the mission members.
US department of defence recorded 400 unaccounted-for US service members in India due to crashes of war and transport planes in volatile days of the world war. Indian officials said US government made renewed request to conduct a MIA recovery mission in Tripura and a few other northeastern states in April last year.
It is believed that at least three US defence aircrafts fell over Tripura. Empennage of a war plane came down in MBB College campus in Agartala and it was displayed in an open field for a long time until scrapped some years ago.