The Swamp Ghost

Registry of visitors to B-17E 41-2446. This list does not include local villagers who have walked to the bomber regularly. The list ends in May 2006, with its removal from the swamp. Have you visited this wreck? Add Your Visit to the List, and provide the date, photo, and observations from your visit.

Late April / early May 2006
Salvage of the Swamp Ghost
Click For EnlargementSalvagers including Alfred Hagen and Robert Greinert, plus their team of aircraft engineers and documentary video crew recover the wreck. They remove the wings, engines and tail stabilizers, and find the two Bendix Turret Machine Guns in place. The pieces of the wreck are lifted with an MI-8 helicopter to the coast and then barged to Lae.
Salvage team: Alfred Hagen, Robert Greinert, Joe Krzeminski
Sponsors: Alfred Hagen, Billy Hansfield, Paul Adams, Robert Reinhartz

September 6, 2005
The Swamp Ghost DVDInaugural Swamp Ghost Tour Group
Tourists Justin Taylan, Dale McCarthy, Craig Shepperd, Phil Clark, John Roberts, Steve Shenfield, Robert McCourt and Peter Levick walk to the bomber. First group of tourists to ever walk to the B-17, with the cooperation of local villagers.

December 1, 2003
The Swamp Ghost DVDDocumenting The Swamp Ghost
Justin Taylan, Michael Claringbould, John Douglas, Jimmy Douglas, Manu Stack (pilot) Duration 5 hours. Group of historians and videographer visits the site to record the bomber with modern video and photograph equipment to share with the world. The results of this visit are part of the Swamp Ghost DVD

November 21, 2003
Click For EnlargementInspection by Hagen Recovery Survey Team & PNG Museum
Senea Gray (PNG Museum), Robert Greinert & Rosemary Szabo (HARS), Jason Cockayne (Qantas), Alfred Hagen, Manu Williams (pilot). Visit for Robert Greinert to create a recommendation to the PNG Museum board of directors about the condition of the wreck site, and if the wreck should be salvaged by Alfred Hagen. Duration: 4 hours

April 2003
Alfred Hagen
Duration: 3 hours (unconfirmed)

Alfred Hagen Duration: 3 hours (unconfirmed)

March ? 1999
Odyssey to the Swamp Ghost Alfred Hagen, Ken Fields
Via Helicopter Duration: 3 hours & 2 hours

June ? 1998
Alfred Hagen Duration 8 hours (unconfirmed)

November ? 1997
Alfred Hagen Duration 5 hours (unconfirmed)

November ? 1996
Alfred Hagen Duration 2 hours

Kokichi Nishamura
Fomer Japanese soldier and expatriate living in Popondetta to locate Japanese war dead, walked to the bomber to investigate it a possible Japanese wreck.  Finding it to be American, he left.

National Geographic Magazine
Aerial photo of the bomber is pictured in their article on General MacArthur.

Click For EnlargementAugust 20 1987
Inspection by PNG Museum Officials & Travis Museum
Robert Gonzales, Marlin White, Jr. (Travis Air Force Museum), Bruce Hoy (PNG Museum modern history curator).

April 18, 1986
Click For EnlargementInspection by TIGHAR for USAF Museum
Rick Gillespie & Patricia Thrasher (TIGHAR), Bruce Hoy (PNG Museum) and Gareth Bean (Pilot) Expedition objective to evaluate for recovery for the USAF Museum

March 15, 1986
Click For EnlargementInspection by PNG Museum & Ken Fields
Kenneth Fields, Soroi Eoe (PNG Museum, director), Bruce Hoy (PNG Museum modern history curator). Via helicopter duration 4 hours on site (6:44am to 10:44am). Fields later writes article "New Guinea Fort" for Warbirds International magazine, 1987 about his visit.

December 19, 1985
Inspection by PNG Museum & USAF Museum
Bruce Hoy (PNG Museum modern history curator), USAF Major Peter Kaminski, SMS Theodore Liston (Travis Air Force Base) via helicopter, duration: 1 1/2 hours on site. (duration of visit 9.15am to 10.35am)

Click For EnlargementDecember 1985
RAAF Detachment Visit
Leigh Alver, Australian Army visits the wreck during exercises in New Guinea.  Initially unable to find the plane, they follow the flight path from Rabaul and are able to locate the wreck that way.

Click For EnlargementSeptember 28, 1980
RAAF Huey UH-1 Crew visits Swamp Ghost

Bill Thomson and others aboard RAAF UH-1 helicopter. Bill contributes his detailed recollections and photos taken during the visit.

December 1976
Click For StoryJack Mierzejewski, Paddy Ryan, Peter Hooper via Bell JetRanger 206 helicopter. Jack contributes his detailed recollections and photos taken during the visit.

October 22, 1974
First Published Photographs of B-17 Taken

Charles Darby via Bell helicopter.
Photographs published in Pacific Aircraft Wrecks

Patrol Officer (Kiap) Walks to the Bomber & Removes Two Guns
Two machine guns and ammunition removed

Click For DetailsOctober 1972
Australian Military Re-Discovery of the Wreck
During Australian Army training excercises, the bomber was
rediscovered from the air and the crew landed to investigate.

August 1972
Frank Vanatta Visit
I over flew the aircraft a few times in April, and actually landed a helicopter on it in August when I spent a bit of time crawling around the inside of the airframe. As the aircraft was so very visible by anyone flying over that part of the country, I was sure people knew of its existence.

Trek to the 'Swamp Ghost' by Frank Gray
After seeing it on a day fight, on his third attempt, trekked to the B-17 removed items including compass and instruments.  It was obvious that no other person had been to this aircraft before us.


          B-17E 41-2446 art by Jack Fellows via IHRP

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