John Douglas February 2002 Wreck News Update
In February, I had a few queries about the two parachutes we found on Mt Kenevi, so I thought I would add a little more to the tale. Mt Kenevi is about 11,400 feet and being close to the equator, it is much warmer at such altitudes than for more moderate climates, so it is largely forest covered with some alpine shrubs and grasses on the top. It is still bloody cold however,especially for the unwary.
When we were exploring.we found a USAAF B-25 near the top in alpine forest. Nearer the top we also found a prop blade and other debris. The two parachutes with human remains were found,seperately, about 100-200 metres away from the B-25 wreck.The plane has been IDed and I have the crew list. We actually found the pilots wallet at the wreck.The plane went missing on a flight between Dobuduru and Port Moresby,and reported being lost in bad weather, by radio.
I think the pilot hit the top of the mountain in bad weather,and lost a prop. Two of the crew [at least] then jumped, but in the short fall, their parachutes didn't have time to open. The plane crashed at the same time, and there were apparently no survivors. The plane was located in 1961 by an Australian RAAF team looking for another aircraft, but the crew were never recovered at that time,or since. The exact location has always been a bit uncertain however,and it has taken a serious effort to relocate it on this occasion. The RAAF did not find the parachutes or the prop debris.
Early War P-40
I have reported the finds to the CILHI agent in PNG, and the results passed on to Hawaii for future action.We also located a P-40 nearby with the early star with a red centre. This plane has not yet been IDed, so we don't know if the pilot is missing or not.
Sogeri Plateau Explorations
With regard to other activities,Wilkie has been exploring the Sogeri plateau,to the imediate East of Port Moresby. Our work is not complete yet,but we did locate three B-24s, two with remains, both IDed and reported to CILHI,while the third has still to be IDed,and appears to have remains as well. One of the three is known to officialdom,and some [but not all] remains have been recovered in the past. Another was visited at the time of the crash,but the remains were regarded as unrecoverable at that time. The second B-24 is located three hours easy walk from the roadhead. The third B-24 is a mystery bird at this time, but with over 20 missing B-24s around Port Moresby,there are plenty of candidates.We also have found perhaps 10-12 other wrecks, including P-39s and P-40s.More to go. I also got photos of a P-47 just out of Wewak, Which I've IDed but not had time to check the pilots status.
John Douglas writes WWII wreck related new briefs for Pacific Wreck Database from his home in Port Moresby. Learn how to help Douglas' efforts and Wreck 'Tec network, donate your old 35mm camera, video equipment or financial help - support this effort!
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