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WWII US Plane Wreck Found in Himalayas

A wreckage of a World War II plane first found in 1999 near a cliff in Danniang, Tibet, along the wartime "Hump" supply route, has been located by a joint Chinese-US Himalayan search group.

Team member Ju Jianhua reported that items found in wreckage include a necklace, a parachute, an oxygen mask, an earplug, a safety belt, flashlight fragments and a lock of the pilot's red hair.

Two local hunters originally discovered the Danniang wreckage in 1999. During a trip in 2000 to pinpoint its location, a Chinese group found another wreck.

In a joint search conducted with China in 2002, the United States brought back the remains of the second plane but abandoned the Danniang search.

The Japanese occupation of Burma in 1942 made the costly and treacherous Hump the only route by which the Allies could transport supplies to China from bases in India. The 800-kilometer-long route began in the southern Indian state of Assam, crossing over the Himalayas to reach the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan.

US Air Transport Command crews braved monsoon rains, deadly wind shifts and the "rock-laden clouds" of the Himalayas to deliver supplies for the Chinese war effort. A total of 650,000 tons of goods were flown over the Hump in a three-year period, contributing significantly to the ultimate victory in the fight against the Japanese invasion.

By the time the route was closed in 1945, the US Air Force had lost 468 planes and 1,579 crewmembers.

(China Daily September 16, 2004)

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