Wreckage of WWII fighter found in Philipines

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
Wreckage of WWII fighter found in R.P.
The Yomiuri Shimbun

The wreckage of an Imperial Japanese Army fighter plane that crashed during World War II was found by an American group in the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon Island in the Philippines in January, 65 years after the plane went down.

The group's members include people with connections to the pilot of a U.S. fighter plane that is believed to have crashed near the site where the Japanese plane went down.

Judging from the model of the aircraft engine, it is believed that Toshisada Kurosawa, a sergeant in the 50th regiment of the army's aviation unit, was the pilot of the plane.

Kan Sugahara, a war historian living in Hayamamachi, Kanagawa Prefecture, who cooperated in the examination of the wreckage, is searching for Kurosawa's bereaved family, saying, "The wreckage must be precious for his family as it is connected with the deceased man."

According to newspapers and records published in Japan and the United States, Kurosawa boarded the plane on Feb. 9, 1942, and, together with five other Japanese planes, engaged in an aerial battle with U.S. fighter planes.

Kurosawa's plane, however, crashed into a mountain on the peninsula after the U.S. plane, piloted by a U.S. officer, crashed there.

The group of American people related to the U.S. pilot has been searching the mountain since the beginning of this year and found an aircraft engine at the end of January.

Asked for help by the group, Sugahara, 78, showed pictures of the wreckage to aviation experts and found it was from a Type 97 Fighter, the same as Kurosawa's plane, judging from the shape of the engine parts and the number of cylinders.

As no other planes of that model crashed in the area, the engine highly likely belongs to Kurosawa's plane, according to Sugahara.

The group is still searching for the U.S. plane. While part of the wreckage of the Type 97 was kept by the group, most of it remains on the mountain. The group members reportedly said they would be willing to help Kurosawa's family if they want to visit the crash site.

According to a record of a defunct veterans association of the 50th regiment, the Kurosawa family's address is in Sapporo. However, they currently do not live at the address given.

(Jul. 16, 2007)

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