Tirana, March 21, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
US authorities request Albania’s help to find an American airplane (photo) which disappeared along with its pilot 70 years ago.
“We’re looking for this plane, and we think you can help”, declared the American embassy to Tirana.
Every part of this plane had a unique identification number.
Therefore, American authorities are hoping to find the airplane although 70 years have gone by. “If we can find part of the aircraft, we might be able to locate our missing pilot’s remains and return him to his family for proper burial. If you or anyone you know have any information about this airplane or any possible WWII-era plane crashes in Albania, please let us know and send us any information or photos you might have”, US Embassy said.
For those who may come across something, embassy experts strongly advise for: “Do not touch anything you find at a possible crash site (take photos instead), and please do not embark on a special search for this purpose. This notice is simply to request information that may exist, and is not a request for action”.
What happened in 1944
In January 1944, during an Ally mission against the Axis powers, an American B-24 Liberator based in Italy took off for a mission in Sofia, Bulgaria, but sustained heavy damage over Skopje from Axis ground fire.
The plane turned around, trying valiantly to return to its base, flying over the Elbasan region of Albania en route to Italy. Shortly after passing the city of Elbasan, two of the plane’s four engines sputtered and died.
In an act of selfless heroism, the pilot of plane stayed at the controls, giving the remaining crew members time to parachute out of the falling airplane. The surviving crew were quickly captured by German forces and retained as prisoners of war.
None of the crew members saw what happened to the plane or heard a crash; that was the last they saw of their pilot, and the plane and pilot are still missing today. /ibna/