Buka Wreck Report
by Josh McDade November 7, 1999
Buka Airport is operational and often used. It
runs NE to SW and is approximately 1.6 kilometers long. At
the front entrance is what appears to be a antiaircraft gun. Locals
tell us that supposedly two aircraft were dup up at some time parralel
from the northern sides of the runway. Couldn't get more
information on when or where the aircraft are now. There
are definitely large excavated old craters within a hundred meters
of the runway. (No
On maps is listed a Betty at the Buka airfield. It is supposed to be approximately 200 meters from the SW end in a linear line with the runway from the SNW corner. A number of PMG members have made attempts to search this area which
is highly overgrown with no luck. The overgrowth is thick and commonly up to six meters high. Viewing
from overhead helicopter flights have not been helpful.
Japanese Aircraft Wreck Underwater
Last month in
Buka I looked for the F1M2 mentioned in the Buka passage. There
is a plane upside down under water in the Buka passage. It
is in about two meters of water and can be easily dived down to. Unfortunately
I did not get the opportunity to snorkel in the area. A
number of PMG members have and say that it is not possible to see under the
craft. (i.e. the top of the plane)
It is too far to swim from Buka
town and a boat is needed.
It can be seen distinctly from overhead
in a helicpoter because the waters
are quite clear in these tropical
areas. It is at the western
end of Buka Point.
This is the east side of the entrance of Ramun Bay
which is between Sahano,
Minan and Buka Islands. I
couldn't find it marked on any maps.
Map indication that I give is
9886 4 KUANA NW 838 980.
found a wreck marked on a map. 9886 1 KUNUA
NE 56MPU 92 92 This
is Matchin Bay, the NW side of Bougainville slightly south of Buka Island.
It can be seen from over head by helicopter.
It is on an angle with
the bow out of the water.
Locals say this was a troopship during WWII
that was grounded.
Before that it was said to be a cargo ship.
I did not get a chance to snorkel this wreck.
Other PMG members have
snorkled this wreck.
Another wreck I was informed of that PMG members have visited
is said to be a barge during WWII.
It is not on any map I could find.
It is said to be half out of the water also in Matchin Bay.
It is said
to be between the Bougainville Island coast, Salsan, Gatus and
These islands are a chain that runs parallel to the NW coast
near Tsirog mission and Telena.
More than one PMG member has talked to more than one local and been
story of an aircraft carrier sinking with planes still on it.
of directions gives some foundation to this story as they all give
the same direction in the NW area of Bougainville.
Drawing a straight
line from the tip of Soraken Peninsula through Saposa
Island and into
the Soloman Sea.
The distance is not clear and cannot be relied apon.
The depth of the sea here cannot make this wreck easy to find or accessible.
It is definitely not seen by air from my personal experience and numerous
helicopter flights around this area.
That completes my report of Buka Island and my findings there.
I must say that the more detail given by wreck enthusiasts will allow others
also to find them quicker, especially any map references.
technology, cheapness of technology and availability of
a fantastic tool for locating sites.
Little to no information
makes strangers in a strange land rely on the local
may have moved on or not be supportive of visitors.
or no details given by previous visitors makes new ones attempt to revert
to history which doesn't reflect the current population and even the ground
The jungle continues to grow and many circumstances can change
including buildings, industry, civil war, water courses,
land reclamation etc.
to Josh Mcdade