B-17 Bomber Returns to US

A B-17E Flying Fortress bomber that crashed in a New Guinea swamp on Feb. 23, 1942, has been returned to the United States for restoration, possibly to flying condition, after years of salvage efforts. The Boeing-built bomber, which became known as Swamp Ghost after its discovery in 1972, was displayed Friday at the port of Long Beach, Calif., during a ceremony attended by relatives of the now-deceased aircrew. The aircraft is considered one of only four B-17Es ever recovered, according to Alfred Hagan, a leader of the salvage team. The B-17E made a belly landing on the north coast of Papua New Guinea after a bombing mission from Australia against Japanese forces on Rabaul in New Britain. The nine-member crew survived the ordeal and made it back to safety. (See Long Beach Press-Telegram report and NPR report). (See also Hagan’s Aero Archeology Web site.)