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First collaborative inquiry into the remains of American pilots

First collaborative inquiry into the remains of American pilots

Posted September. 23, 2023 08:05,   

Updated September. 23, 2023 08:05


On Thursday, the Ministry of National Defense disclosed that Korea's Remains Excavation and Assessment Team, in collaboration with the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), has initiated a joint investigation starting on September 7. Their objective is to locate the remains of U.S. aircraft and pilots that went down in the waters near Haeundae, Busan, during the Korean War. This marks the inaugural underwater investigation conducted jointly by South Korea and the United States aimed at recovering the remains of those who lost their lives in the Korean War.

The ongoing joint investigation, scheduled until the 27th, aims to locate the wreckage of a B-26 bomber from the U.S. 5th Air Force and the remains of three U.S. pilots. This aircraft crashed into the sea shortly after departing from K9 (Suyeong) Airfield in Busan in January 1953. The inquiry, initiated last year at the U.S.'s request in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the ROK-U.S. alliance, engaged the expertise of divers, vessels, and underwater archaeologists from both the United States and South Korea. According to the military's report, the survey is being conducted in an area covering approximately 20 square kilometers. The seabed, which varies in depth from 5 to 25 meters, is subjected to a comprehensive scan using the ship's sonar equipment to detect anomalies. When a suspicious object is detected, Korean and American divers are dispatched to conduct thorough inspections. Captain Patrick Anderson of the U.S. DPAA underscored their commitment, stating, "We are actively involved in this survey with the conviction that our nation should take responsibility for those who made sacrifices for their country. We will spare no effort if there's even a 1% chance of identifying the missing individuals."

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com