After getting official records of the fate of the aircraft from the Burma Campaign Society based in London, members of the "2nd WW Imphal Campaign Foundation" are now trying to retrieve pieces of history buried underwaters.
"We have collated all data from various WWII associations of UK with inputs from local people and eye-witness accounts. We have found three sites where wreckages of these three aircrafts are buried," the foundation's co-founder, Yumnam Rajeshwor Singh, told PTI from Imphal. On June 17, 1944, two Japanese fighter aircraft, known as Oscar, were shot down by British forces after which they fell into Loktak Lake.
On the same day, British bomber Wellington had also crashed into the waterbody spread across 286 sq km area across the three valley districts of Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur. Armed with GPS devices and underwater equipment, Singh said a team of 50 volunteers, led by seven researchers, are scanning the bed of the Loktak lake to locate wreckages.
"After the crash people had sold parts of the aircraft as aluminium scrap. But the engines which were as heavy as 600 kg could not be lifted out of the lake and is still lying underneath. We have got the information from few survivors of that period," he said.