Salvaged war plane to be shipped to US
The National [ September 10, 2008 | Read Article Online ]
THE American war plane B17E Flying Fortress Bomber, named Swamp Ghost, used during the Second World War and salvaged from the Agiambo swamp in Oro province, will soon be shipped back to the US after being in PNG for almost 66 years, director of the National Museum and Art Gallery Simon Poraituk said on Monday.
Mr Poraituk said that after a public outcry, the Government had halted its shipment to the US. The National Executive Council had repealed its previous decision after considering all the pros and cons and finally decided to give the green light for the Swamp Ghost to be shipped home. As the US Aero Archeology had saved the aircraft from being disintegrated through natural corrosion in the swamp, the NEC has changed its earlier decision.
Mr Poraituk also said it was a costly exercise for Aero Archaeology to use more advanced technology to salvage the aircraft from Agiambo swamp to Lae where it was now. He said Aero Archeology had already deposited K300,000 in a bank account here for the State, Oro provincial government and landowners.
The war plane had to be shipped back to the US as PNG lacked the technology, manpower and money to rebuild it to its original condition for display purposes here, he added. Before the aircraft was salvaged from the Agiambo swamp, it had no tourism value as it was submerged under 6m of water.
The area was remote and accessible only by helicopter, he said. No tourist has visited the area and since PNG lacks display facilities, two other aircraft are still waiting for display, sitting in Australia under historic aviation restoration services. Meanwhile, Aero Archeology will construct a modern history display facility, recreation playground and barbecue area at the National Museum and Art Gallery at its own cost.