State of Play with 'Swamp Ghost'
by Malcolm Black
On 17 December 2001 A senior PNG official discussed the latest state-of-play with 'Swamp Ghost'. He noted that the recent trip to the US for the two Museum officials had included trips to Disneyland and Universal Studios. This was not remarkable, but what was, was the fact that a fortnight ago another Museum official had suddenly come into the possession of a new air-conditioning unit, a coveted and luxury item in PNG. There is determination amongst other museum staff to find out how the item was "acquired" but there is strong belief that the item was presented, not by the Swamp Ghost team, but rather by a Melbourne-based consortium whose members returned from another recovery in PNG in early December 2001.
The senior official noted that the US partnership for Swamp Ghost was now down to one party, the backing party funded by Dave Tallichet having dropped out of the deal. There is widespread agreement in PNG Museum circles that the recovery of the Swamp Ghost is too politically sensitive to proceed. Accordingly, the decision will now amost certainly be passed to National Executive Council Level who will prevaricate on a any decision. the final result is that, despite any noises they make to permit recovery, the PNG government will fail to follow up positive noises with positive action. The official said that the government's biggest nightmare with the project would be were the bomber damaged substantially during recovery. He noted that the RAAF, with million dollar budgets, had experienced recovery accidents in 1985 with dropped slings etc, and he doubted that the US businessman could recover the aircraft without damaging it. If publicity were attracted to a recovery fiasco, the end result would be political damage to many parties, not the least being the Museum staff. It looks as if Swamp Ghost is in PNG to stay.