17 Sep 2008

MP says the Swamp Ghost is part of PNG culture and it should not have been sold

2:06 pm on 17 September 2008

Some of Papua New Guinea's politicians are furious that the wreckage of a World War Two bomber is being allowed to leave the country.

The plane, affectionately known as the `Swamp Ghost', crash-landed in a swamp in Oro Province in February, 1942.

The PNG government reportedly last week accepted a salvage company's 100 thousand US dollars payment for the wreck, after two years of wrangling.

The Eastern Highlands Province Governor Malcolm Kela Smith says the Public Accounts Committee recommended it not be removed, and legal advice backs that up.

"A lot of our heritage has already been removed and that's sad, because it is one of the few countries that you can look at our culture and you can almost identify the district it came from, let alone the area.. you can get right down to the districts and pinpoint where that artefact came from. In the case of World War Two, it is part of our culture, and it is part of our history, but unfortunately we're not in a position to manage these things yet."

Mr Kela Smith says the aircraft is worth millions of kina and the PNG Museum took no steps to protect it.