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Aircraft used in World War II recovered after 76 years in Arunachal Pradesh

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Aircraft which were returning from Kunming in China to Chabua in Assam disappeared over Arunachal Pradesh during World War II.

76 years after the aircraft discovered

Bill Scherer, a retired police detective in New York, finally got some hope about performing the last rites of his father, William K. Scherer, a 1st Lt. in the US Army Air Corps, 76 years after the aircraft was discovered.

The remains of aircraft (C-46A#42-9621) was found in a snow-clad mountain at Dapha Bum inside Namdapha National Park/Tiger Reserve last month by Clayton Kuhles, an independent researcher from the US.

KUHLES NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION, MIA: Recoveries, Inc has so far helped family members of at least 27 US soldiers who had gone missing in action during WWII.

Kuhles, along with tribal hunters belonging to the Lisu community, had trekked for eight day to discover the aircraft at 13,000 feet above sea level.

“It was an extremely difficult expedition. We set up a camp at Dapha Bum after wading across the Dihing and Namdapha rivers. The river depth was chest-deep in some locations, making these river crossings extremely dangerous while carrying heavy packs. My Lisu team members wanted to flee downslope when it started snowing,” Kuhles said in an emailed response to DH.

The details of his mission and the identified aircraft will soon be posted on his website, he added.

Aircraft C-46A#42-9621, with four crew and nine passengers including William K. Scherer disappeared on January 6 of 1945. The aircraft was returning from Kunming (China) to Chabua (Assam, India) after offloading supplies when it reportedly disappeared due to bad weather.

Aircraft

More than 500 US aircraft and 1,200 personnel reportedly disappeared in the CBI theatre (China Burma India), of which over 400 personnel still remain missing in Northeast India – mainly in Arunachal Pradesh.

The majority of the episodes that led to the disappearance of 400 Americans in India during World War II are believed to have occurred over parts of Arunachal since the main air re-supply route from India to China during the conflict was over the Himalayas. The US was part of the Allied Forces that also comprised Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

Five years ago, Bill Scherer sought the help of Kuhles to locate the remains of the aircraft. Kuhles said that he did not find any human remains in the aircraft. “The Lisu hunters, however, reported seeing human remains amongst the wreckage during the previous summer. Now the family can request the US government to recover the remains,” he said. 

“We have been eagerly waiting for recovery of the mortal remains for decades now,” Scherer said.

Kuhles said the crewmen and the passengers who were in the aircraft included 2nd Lt. Sydney L. Murphy (pilot), 2nd Lt. Delmar K. Brown (co-pilot), Cpl. Alvin P. Palecek (radio operator), Pfc. Edmund T. Murphy (flight clerk) and 1st Lt. William K. Scherer, 2nd Lt. Carl D. Moyes, T/4 Prayor D. Collings, T/4 O. G. Dishman, T/4 Robert F. Sherman, Sgt. Raymond F. Brunner, Sgt. J. V. Dolton, Sgt. Kenneth Hart (all passengers). 

Gary Zaetz, president of Families and Supporters of America’s Arunachal Missing in Action told DH on Tuesday that the government of India now has the responsibility to make sure that the crash site is searched for remains and that the remains be returned expeditiously to their families in the US.

Also Read: ARUNACHAL: 17-YR-OLD BOY ABDUCTED BY CHINA’S PLA

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