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Yaeyama Nippo "The wrecked underwater airplane was confirmed"

The picture of the family was placed (in the airplane) in Sonai Iriomote

Michael McAlonie (45 years old) from New York who had been investigating a crash site of an airplane at Sonai from the 23rd in order to repatriate the remains of US fighter pilot who crashed off Iriomote Island at the end of the WWII with three members from the groups to search the WWII remains confirmed the aircraft on the seabed off Sonai in the morning of the 25th.

They are planning to report the results to the family of the pilot and call on the US Government to carry out more investigation of the remains.

The pilot is 2nd Lieutenant of US Marine Corps from Troy, a town in the north of the New York state, and his name is John McGrath (21 years old at the time).

McAlonie's father, Howard McAlonie, was the high school classmate as well as the close friend of the 2nd Lieutenant McGrath.

The recovery work of the human remains were conducted by the US experts in 1988, and the six pieces of human remains were identified, but it is not returned to the families today.

With the cooperation of the local diver, Shiro Ikama, who discovered the aircraft in the summer of 1987, 3 divers and Justin Taylan, 41 years old, from the private American research group, dived in the ocean in the morning of the 25th and started its search. They confirmed the wrecked aircraft on the seabed of the ocean.

Michael asked the diver to put a brick of the house of John MacGrath on the engine and the picture of his father, Howard McAlonie, who died in 2014.

Kinsei Ishigaki (73 years old) in Sonai who worked as the person in charge of the survey in 1988 cooperated with this time, too.

He invited McAlonie and others to his house on the 26th and suggested McAlonie that he will serve and give prayers to the pilot with his ancestors at his house, saying that "because I feel too sorry for that pilot being at the bottom of the ocean." He put the picture of the pilot and Howard McAlonie at the altar at his home.

After completing the survey, McAlonie said, “I was able to come to this place and Mr. Ishigaki told me that he would continue praying for my father's friend, everything is moved“. He also added that "The only thing that the families know about is the crash. They even do not know about the government's investigation in 1988. I first want to tell the families that the John McGrath is at the ocean of Sonai."

Justin Taylan emphasized that "Because of the good people on this island, the history that had been dead for long time has now been revitalized".

Usan Kurata (63 years old) from a private group called “KUENTAI-USA” who accompanied them said “We owe the locals so much” and Yukari Akatsuka (33 years old), an interpreter, said “the good people we have met on the island have created something that both people from the States and Japan could share and cherish".
Credit: Yaeyama Nippo ""The wrecked underwater airplane was confirmed" Date: March 28, 2019

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