Agartala: Fragments of
a US military aircraft, used during World War II, have been
recovered in northern Tripura 66 years after it crashed, defence
sources said here Saturday.
"After more than 66 years of being considered unrecoverable by
many, the remnants of an American aircraft, C-47B, which crashed
during World War II, were recovered by a team of 34th Battalion of
the Assam Rifles last week in northern Tripura," an army official
The remains of the aircraft were found at the remote tribal
village of Birmani Para in the Dhalai district in northern Tripura,
125 km north of state capital Agartala.
The official said: "A series of search operations had been
launched since September last year to find out the crash site in
the thick and dense forests of all three hill ridges of northern
Tripura -- Baramura, Atharamura and Longtrai. Finally, our
troopers achieved success last week."
The army official said that during World War II (1939-1945), the
Allied forces lost hundreds of aircraft in the China-Burma-India
(CBI) theatre of operations.
"The majority of Allied crashes were caused by inhospitable
weather, mechanical failure or navigational errors. The American
Joint Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC)
had identified 16 known crash sites in northeast India where
Allied forces aircraft had crashed during World War II," the
"On May 17, 1946, the ill-fated C-47B aircraft crashed in Tripura
along with 11 members, due to heavy storm conditions while
transporting the remains of Allied POW (Prisoners of War) from
Yangon (erstwhile capital of Burma now Myanmar) to Calcutta," the
"The 34 Battalion Assam Rifles under the aegis of the para-military's
21 sector headquarters in Agartala was tasked to find out the
details of the aforesaid aircraft and accordingly launched the
hunt," a visibly cheerful army official said.
He said that the mission was very difficult due to the
inconvenient terrain of the area and since the aircraft had
crashed 66 years ago. Besides, the ecology had changed a lot over
a period of time.
"Dense forests and inhospitable topography made search operations
even more cumbersome. The propeller of the said aircraft was also
recovered," the official said, adding that elderly locals faintly
remember the crash and aided Assam Rifles troopers to find out the
crash site as also the graves where the crew had been laid to
Meanwhile, several myths about the crash of the aircraft are still
popular among local tribesmen in the mountainous northern Tripura.
"Late novelist Bimal Sinha, also the former Tripura health
minister, in his novel 'Karachi theke Longtharai' (Karachi to
Longtharai) had explicated many tales about the crash of Allied
fores' aircraft in Tripura," writer Tapas Debnath told IANS.
"During World War II, the Agartala airport was used by the United
States Air Force. In 1942-43, the 10th Air Force and the 4th
Combat Cargo Group (CCG) flew C-46 Commando transport aircraft
over Burma, now Myanmar," said an official document of the Tripura
It added, "The Agartala airport was also used as a supply point
from which the US Air Force units air-dropped packets of supplies
and ammunition to the advancing Allied forces on the ground."
"The 4th CCG operated from the airport during December 1944 and
January 1945 when the unit moved to Chittagong, now in southeast