WWII U.S. P-51 PLANE FOUND IN IRIAN JAYA

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (February 16, 1999 - Antara/AP/Kabar-Irian)---Indonesian pearl divers recently found the wreckage of a U.S. fighter plane from World War II, the official Antara news agency reports.

The wreckage was found in waters off the town of Sorong in the remote province of Irian Jaya, 162 miles northeast of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.

The wreckage of a P-51 Mustang fighter was partly buried in the seabed, 40 feet below the surface, Antara quoted a diver named Ofnias saying.

Divers in the region have found the wreckage of a total of five American warplanes, Antara said.

The area in Irian Jaya, which consists of the western half of New Guinea island, was a major battleground between Japanese and Allied forces during World War II.

Last month, the Indonesian army gave the U.S. military two plastic caskets containing what were believed to be the remains of eight Americans who perished in Irian Jaya in World War II.

Their B-25 plane disappeared on a flight across what was then Dutch New Guinea on Sept. 25, 1945, about one month after Japanese forces surrendered to the Allies.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") For assistance, please e-mail: help-bi@irja.org (auto-responder) or admin@irja.org World Wide Web: http://www.irja.org

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