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19 July 2017

WW2 bomber Tulsamerican yields possible human remains

The B-24 bomber carrying the men was nicknamed the Tulsamerican and crashed off the coast of Croatia in the second world war.

UNDERWATER archaeologists have uncovered what they believe to be the remains of US soldiers shot down in the Second World War, described as Oklahoma’s own Amelia Earhart.

The B-24 bomber carrying the men was nicknamed the Tulsamerican and crashed off the coast of Croatia towards the end of the war, some 73 years ago. Ten crew members were on board but only seven were rescued.

For more than 70 years, the remaining three soldiers are believed to have occupied a watery grave. Scientists believe they have now collected possible human remains from the underwater site of the crash, as well as a life vest, a boot and military equipment.

“The remains of human bones have been found, but we can’t say anything without further analysis,” Zadar University archaeologist Mate Parica said.

The sunken wreckage was first discovered in 2010 but in an effort to bring the soldiers home after more than seven decades, underwater archaeologists embarked on a month-long expedition to survey the site.

“It was incredibly emotional for all of us,” underwater archaeologist Brendan Foley told Live Science.

“When the aircraft crashed, it was a violent impact,” Mr Foley said. The nose section was very badly damaged and “almost peeled open like a banana”, he added.

Although the divers could still recognise plenty of intact features of the plane including the seats where the soldiers would’ve been sitting.

For more than 70 years, the remaining three soldiers are believed to have occupied a watery grave.

For more than 70 years, the remaining three soldiers are believed to have occupied a watery grave.Source:Supplied

In this photo taken Saturday, July 8, 2017, provided by Croatian Defense Ministry, a serviceman looks at a screen during an underwater mission in the waters near the Adriatic island of Vis.

In this photo taken Saturday, July 8, 2017, provided by Croatian Defense Ministry, a serviceman looks at a screen during an underwater mission in the waters near the Adriatic island of Vis.Source:AP

The Tulsamerican was the last B-24 Liberator bomber built in Tulsa, Oklahoma near the end of World War II.

Tulsa’s Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray says he thought of the search for the missing plane and the remaining soldiers as akin to the famous search for Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

“You’ve got people spending millions of dollars trying to find Amelia Earhart,” he told local media. “This is our own Amelia Earhart. This is our own little project. The difference is, we actually found it.”

Servicemen retrieve remains during an underwater mission in the waters near the Adriatic island of Vis, Croatia. Divers have located human bones near the wreckage of a US bomber that crashed in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia in 1944.

Servicemen retrieve remains during an underwater mission in the waters near the Adriatic island of Vis, Croatia. Divers have located human bones near the wreckage of a US bomber that crashed in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia in 1944.Source:AP

The plane went down in what was expected to be its final flight. During the journey the Tulsamerican survived a firefight with the German air force but was badly damaged. The aircraft tried to make an emergency landing but ultimately crashed off the coast of what is today Croatia.

“The United States is very thankful for the support from the Croatian government, especially the Croatian Navy, for their assistance with this mission,” the US embassy in Croatia said on its Facebook page.

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