Army team arrives in Tibet
to look for war remains

A 2-month effort will search for
2 planes lost in World War II

Staff and news reports

A U.S. Army team has arrived in eastern Tibet to search for remains of fliers aboard two American planes that went down during World War II, the U.S. Embassy said yesterday.

The mission is expected to last two months, the embassy said in a statement.

One crash site is at 15,500 feet on the Tibetan plateau, and the other is at 16,200 feet, according to information released earlier by the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii.

Both aircraft were C-46 cargo planes. During the war, thousands of Allied flights flew over the region carrying weapons and supplies from India to the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, the country's wartime capital.

The Chinese government reported the locations of the two crash sites in 2000, according to the Army laboratory.

One of the planes disappeared in March 1944 with four people aboard, en route to its base in Sookerating in India, the embassy said. It said the identity and number of people aboard the other flight are unknown.

Officials of the laboratory said the members of the crew sent to Tibet underwent special high-altitude training in Hawaii and Alaska.

Last month, an eight-member search team from the Army laboratory reported that it had found remnants of the wreckage of a CIA plane that went down 50 years ago during the Korean War. The team hopes to recover the remains of the pilots lost in the crash.

The two pilots -- Robert C. Snoddy of Eugene, Ore., and Norman A. Schwartz of Louisville, Ky. -- were about to pick up an anti-communist Chinese spy in the foothills of the region formerly known as Manchuria when their C-47 was shot down on Nov. 29, 1952.

Two CIA officers aboard the plane were captured and imprisoned by China for two decades.

China's granting of permission for the U.S. Defense Department to search the CIA plane wreckage site marks the first time Beijing has cooperated in a search for the remains of Americans who died in China during the Cold War.

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