Thursday, August 28, 2008

How Long Has This Dead Pilot Been Hanging In A Tree?

The moss covered skeletonn may be an Australian, American or Japanese pilot, one of the many lost in the jungles of Papua New Guinea during World War 2.

If true, then he has been suspended in the tree, still locked into his seat, for more than six decades. Another lost body found from that appalling war.

Sometime in the new year, the body will likely be identified, and surviving relatives will be contacted. Someone who has lived most of a lifetime wondering what happened to this man may soon find out the truth.

Hikers say they discovered the skeleton hanging from the jungle canopy halfway along the 96-kilometre historic World War II path (the Kokoda Track).

Guide David Collins from Melbourne's No-Roads trekking company was there.

"It's swinging like somebody caught in a tree and that's when you can really see the cabling and it's the exact shape of a body, same size, everything, but it's just covered in moss," he said.

"It's exactly what it looks like, just somebody caught in a harness, in a seat harness."

He said the the tree with the skeleton had been marked with plastic to help furture investigators find it again.

The remoteness of the site and the difficulties involving in locating and working with anything in the thick jungle canopy mean that it could be months before any identification of the skeleton is made.