Swamp Ghost has left PNG

Well.....I reported in my earlier blog that the Swamp Ghost's departure from PNG was imminent. In today's two dailies, you will read that yes - that has certainly happened, is happening right now as I blog, or the Ghost is just about to leave the shores of PNG forever.

The Post Courier report on Page 4 follows a large headline on its front page - 'SWAMP GHOST LEAVES PNG'. Below is the report. Send me your your comment or take part in the poll:

 Alfred Hagen, the elusive American who is shipping PNG's world famous war relic 'Swamp Ghost' to the United States left Lae yesterday after overseeing the loading of the ghost on shipping containers.

The containers are at the Lae main wharf but shipping sources are unaware of the ship they will be loaded on or their final destination. 

The war relic was yesterday taken out of the Voco Point timber yard of PNG Forest Products, where its has been sitting for the past 3 years and loaded into three semi-trailers.

The aircraft was dismantled and packed when Mr Hagen arrived in Lae. He was booked into the Lae International Hotel from January 14 to 20 and took yesterday's midday flight to Port Moresby.

Mr Hagen, from Philadelphia, set up Aero Archeology Ltd in 2000 to recover the war relic.

Despite a massive public campaign to stop the export of the wreck, the National Government relented to threats of court action by Mr Hagen and allowed the export to proceed.

It is understood that clearance for the export was given on September 10 2008 by the National Executive Council against the recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which in 2006 found that the salvage of the war relic from the Agiambo Swamp in Oro (Northern) Province was illegal.

Agiambo landowner chief Allan Jogioba last week said he, at the behest of the Tourism Minister Charles Abel, had accepted the offer of K300,000 from Mr Hagen to be deposited into a trust account.

The Swamp Ghost, officially known as B17-E serial number 41-2446, was accepted into the US Army on December 6, 1941.

It was part of a nine-bomber raid of shipping in Rabaul's Simpson Harbour on the night of February 22, 1942. During the attack, it was hit by an anti-aircraft shell which passed through its right wing but did not explode.

The aircraft tried to return to Port Moresby's 7-mile drome but ran out of fuel and the pilot Capt Henry "Hotfoot" Eaton Jr landed in what he thought was kunai grass.

Instead, he had landed in a swamp and his crew walked away from the crash site, with assistance from local villagers and Australian resident magistrate Allan Champion.


Phil said...

Great news. Another few years in the swamp would have seen it reduced to a pile of corroded metal. It looks to be a win/win situation, both for the land owner and the aeroplane.

mberllm said...

it just blows my mind that not even the National Museum & Art gallery, NCC & other PNG Heritage Entities did not engage smart PNG Lawyers to do a 'needle in the hay' search of those particular existing legislations, to stop this significant relic from leaving our shores.

Euralia Paine said...

I guess now, it is something we can admire from afar...or get to see it in its new resting place when we have the chance to. RIP Swamp Ghost....



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