Explorers found what they believe is the downed plane of World War II ace Richard Bong

Explorers found what they believe is the downed plane of World War II ace Richard Bong

Explorers found what they believe is the plane knocked down from World War II ace Richard Bong in the South Pacific.

The announcement was made on Thursday May 23after the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center in Superior, Wisconsinand the nonprofit historic preservation group Pacific Wrecks They will begin a joint search for the fighter in March Lockheed P-38 Lightning by Bongnicknamed “Marge” after his girlfriend, Marge Vattendahl.

According to the news agency The Associated Press (AP)the leader of the expedition and director of Pacific Wrecks, Justin Taylorstated that the search team found the remains in the jungles of the province of Madang in Papua New Guinea on May 15. “I think it's safe to say mission accomplished,” Taylan said. “Marge has been identified. “It’s a great day for downtown, a great day for Pacific Wrecks, a great day for history.”

During the search, the explorers received help from local inhabitants, who eventually guided the team to the correct site. At the discovery site, they found two airplane engines at the top of a ravine, indicating that the plane crashed on its nose and was buried in the ground. One notable feature was that Bong had painted the tips of the plane's wings red.and the paint could still be seen on the remains.

The explorers walked to a ravine where they found the remains. At the top of the ravine they found two airplane engines protruding from the ground, indicating that the plane was buried when it fell on its nose, he confirmed. ABCNews.

Taylan explained that Bong shot down three planes while piloting “Marge.” bongafter three combat tours in the South Pacificwas assigned as a test pilot in Burbank, Californiaand he died August 6, 1945 in a jet crash. He died the same day USA dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Taylan has been investigating the location of the fall site for years. Historical records suggested the plane crashed on plantation grounds. 150 years old. Local residents initially showed the explorers the wreckage of a Japanese fighter plane before telling them about other wreckage further into the jungle.

Among the photos published by Taylan from the jungle, you can see metal fragments on the ground. In one of the images, Taylan points out what legend describes as a wingtip stamped with “993,” the last three numbers of the plane's serial number. Enlarging the photograph shows marks that could be two “9s”, but they are obscured by what appears to be dirt or rust. Another photo shows a piece of metal with the model inscription “Model P-38 JK.”

Richard Bong grew up in Poplar, Wisconsinand is credited with having shot down 40 Japanese planes during the Second World War, more than any other American pilot. He General Douglas MacArthur gave him the Medal of Honorthe United States' highest military decoration, in 1944.

another pilot Thomas Malonewas flying the plane in March 1944 over what is now known as Papua New Guinea when an engine failure sent the plane into an uncontrolled spin. malone he parachuted before the plane crashed in the jungle.

He Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center and Pacific Wrecks announced in March that they would embark on the search for the fighter Bong P-38 Lightningsince he had named the plane “Marge” in honor of his then girlfriend, Marge Vattendahl.

James Bong, nephew of Richard Bong, said in the press release, “The Bong family is very excited about this discovery.” He added that “it is amazing and incredible that 'Marge' has been found and identified,” he quoted the AP.

Richard Bong and Marge Vattendahl They married in 1945, shortly before the fatal accident that took his life. bong. Behind this, Vattendahl moved to The Angels, where she became a model and magazine editor. She died in September 2003 in Superior, at the age of 79 years. In honor to Richard Bonga bridge that connects Superior and Duluth, Minnesotaand a state recreation area in southeastern Wisconsin They bear his name.