This C-47 aircraft of the 10th Air Force was assigned to the post-war American Graves Registration Service (AGRS). Very early in the morning on 17 May 1946, it departed Mingaladon airport at Rangoon, Burma for Barrackpore / Calcutta, India. The aircraft had a crew of 3 from the 1304th Air Force Base Unit and 8 passengers, including a 6-man AGRS team. This aircraft was transporting possibly as many as 43 sets of US remains which were recently recovered by the AGRS team from POW cemeteries in southern Burma.
A heavy storm was developing over the Bay of Bengal that day, and it was moving to the N - NE. The aircraft would unavoidably be running into the storm along its route to Barrackpore. The standard flight route from Rangoon to Barrackpore required flying over the NE corner of the Bay of Bengal between Akyab, Burma and Calcutta. The pilot was known to dislike flying over water; furthermore, before departing Mingaladon, the pilot told airport personnel he could not fly over water on this flight because he did not have enough life jackets aboard. The pilot stated he would instead follow the coast, and if he encountered a storm over Akyab, he would fly N or NE to skirt around it.
The pilot radioed Barrackpore at 0610Z to report he had passed over Akyab at 0530Z, was flying on instruments and he expected to arrive at Barrackpore at 0800Z. At 0615Z the pilot radioed Barrackpore for a weather update, and Barrackpore had to respond to him twice due to heavy atmospheric interference. At 0705Z the pilot mistakenly responded to a call from Barrackpore to another aircraft and said he had nothing to report. This was the last contact with C-47B #43-48308. The plane was never heard from again and its location is unknown. Dead: 11 plus possibly as many as 43 sets of US POW remains.
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