"Searching for the Trail of the Hump" program kicks off in Sichuan

A search convoy leaves for Tibet to seek out the debris of an air-freighter used by Allied forces during WW2

Aug 10, 2015, 22:47 ET from Xinhua News Agency

CHENGDU, China, Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- To commemorate the 70th anniversary of China's victory in the Sino-Japanese War and the country's contribution to defeating the Axis powers during World War II, the "Remembrance and Tribute -- Searching for the Trail of the Hump" public interest program was launched at Jianchuan Museum Cluster in the city of Chengdu in southwestern China. A convoy arranged by the organizers left for the Ruoguo Glacier in Yigong, a village located in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet, to search for the debris of the Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express air-freighter, serial 41-24668, that was flown and crashed into the Himalayas during World War II. Once found, the debris will be housed in Jianchuan Museum Cluster's Hall of the Heroes of the Flying Tigers.

The delivery of supplies over the Hump, the name given by Allied pilots to the route over the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to battle-scarred China during World War II, was the most sustained, difficult and costly airlift in the history of military air freight. Hump pilots delivered approximately 850,000 tons of strategic supplies; nevertheless about 1,500 US aircraft crashed in the area along the southwest border of China during the ordeal.

The C-87 serial 41-24668 air-freighter crashed on the Ruoguo Glacier in 1944 and was discovered in the 1990s. The remains of five US pilots were handed over to the US, while the debris of the plane remained in the depths of the glacier.

"The Flying Tigers shot down 2,500 Japanese planes during WorldWar II, losing more than 500 of their own. More to the point, more than 500 jumbo air-freighters crashed on the flight over the Hump. The air-freighter we are searching for this time is one of the few well-preserved aircraft that had ever flown the Hump. The search team has identified the location of the aircraft's debris which will be taken back to Chengdu and displayed at Jianchuan Museum Cluster. Putting the debris on display in an exhibition will encourage visitors to remember the history, recall the revolutionary martyrs, cherish the peace that evolved as a result and help to understand why everyone needs to do their part to maintain peace in the future," Jianchuan Museum Cluster curator Fan Jianchuan explained. Jianchuan Museum Cluster is a co-organizer of the effort.

The program was initiated by Jianchuan Museum Cluster in collaboration with the crew of the film The Bombing and China International Culture & Image Communication Corporation, a subsidiary of Xinhua News Agency. China International Culture & Image Communication Corporation has assembled an official photography team which will cover and record every moment of the event. Chen Xiaobo, chief editor at Xinhua News Agency and a famous curator, will take the lead in planning and launching the extensive "Broken Wings -- The Search for C-87" exhibit.

At the launching ceremony, four veterans, Wang Xianlong, Hua Zhongzhu, Liao Junyi and Wang Jian, presented a flag to the leader of the search team, and were given a standing ovation by attendees.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150810/257179

SOURCE Xinhua News Agency