Bomber gets OK to leave
Post Courier [ June 7, 2006 ]
THE controversial World War II B-17E bomber aircraft nicknamed the “Swamp Ghost” will be sent to the United State to be reconstructed and restored to its original form. This shall be bound by an agreement between the State and its client to have it returned when Papua New Guinea finally has the capacity to house and care for all its war materials.
Minister for Culture and Tourism David Basua said this yesterday when explaining that the aircraft was not being sold off. “As minister responsible, I state that we will not sell the war relic nor give our history away. All we will do is salvage the B-17E flying fortress to be reconstructed and restored to its original form and then returned,” Mr Basua said. He said the plan to salvage and reconstruct the aircraft was shared between the governments of PNG and USA. “The plan to remove the aircraft is now a shared responsibility between Aero Archeology USA, the company that will salvage the aircraft, and the US government to whom the plane belongs, and PNG, to whom the history belongs,” Mr Basua said.
Mr Basua said he has directed the national museum management to have the owner of Aero Archaeology to sort out all necessary documents for the good of the Swamp Ghost. He said the State could rebuild the aircraft in PNG but that would be costly and technical expertise in manpower and infrastructure was not available. National Museum and Art Gallery director Simon Poraituk acknowledged the minister’s move saying after restoring and reconstructing the B-17E war craft, it will attract more tourists. “For the last 64 years, it has been sitting in the Agiambo swamp in the Northern Province and has not attracted many people but after it is restored, it definitely will,” Mr Poraituk said.