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Wreckage of WWII US Transport Plane Found in Tibetan Plateau Region

August 19, 2015

Volunteers collect wreckage of a United States army C-87 transport airplane crashed more than seven decades ago in the plateau region of Nyingchi in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region on Aug. 5, 2015. The wreckage was recently discovered in the area 4200 meters above sea level. The plane crashed in an unpopulated area while on route of a most challenging mission over the Tibetan area in 1944. [Photo: qq.com]

The remains of a United States army C-87 transport airplane that crashed in Tibet 71 years ago will be collected for display by one of China's largest private museums.

The remains, found at the top of a mountain in Bomi County earlier this month, included a 4.5-meter-long and 2-meter-wide wing with an engraved white five-pointed star, three pairs of army boots, dashboard, engine and cabin parts.

Letters like "Chicago," "USA," "FBE-18" and "PAT" can be seen in some parts of the remains, a Xinhua reporter witnessed.

They were packed on Tuesday and will be sent to the Jianchuan Museum in the neighboring Sichuan Province. The remains will be displayed in the "Flying Tigers Hall" and open to the public on around Aug. 15 to mark China's victory against the Japanese aggression, said Yang Jianchao, deputy curator of the museum.

The C-87 plane and remains of five U.S pilots were found by local hunters in September 1993, but most of the wreckage stayed on the glacier.

Eleven professionals and 41 Tibetan supporting staff took part in the search that began on July 31 and ended on Aug. 8.

"Those boots are the same as I saw in the 1990s,"said Luo Song, a villager who guided the search team to the glacier this month and also took part in the search in 1993.

"It was really difficult to climb onto the glacier. There was neither roads nor bridges," said Yang, who took part in the search.

Yang said they carried the remains on their back and took them down.

The Hump, or the "death route" over the Himalayan mountains, was operated jointly by China and the United States from 1942 to 1945 to transport military supplies from India to southwest China.

About 1,500 planes crashed along the route. The route is clearly seen from above as the aluminum trail of wrecked planes glittering in the sunlight.

The Flying Tigers, officially known as the American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force, were formed in 1941 and led by U.S. General Claire Lee Chennault to help China drive out invading Japanese troops.

The Jianchuan Museum, established by entrepreneur Fan Jianchuan, opened to the public in 2005. It is one of the largest private museums in China with about 30 exhibition halls focusing on the anti-Japanese war, folk customs and earthquakes.

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