ZAGREB, Croatia – Divers have located human bones near the wreckage of a U.S. bomber that crashed in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia in 1944.
The discovery was made last week at the site of the crash of The Tulsamerican, the last B-24 Liberator bomber built in Tulsa, Oklahoma, near the end of World War II, according to Croatia’s state TV.
“The remains of human bones have been found, but we can’t say anything without further analysis,” Zadar University archaeologist Mate Parica said.
The wreckage itself was found at the bottom of the sea at a depth of some 40 meters (130 feet) near the island of Vis in 2010 after a 17-year search. Three members of the 10-man crew were killed in the crash.
Tomo Medved, who heads Croatia’s ministry for war veterans, said the U.S. is still looking for some 200 Americans who perished in Croatia during WWII. Croatia was run by a Nazi puppet regime during the war. Medved pledged the country’s cooperation.
“We will launch the procedure to sign an agreement between our countries so that we would find the remains of some 200 people that the United States is searching for in the territory of the Republic of Croatia,” he said.
An effort to recover and return pieces of the wreckage to Oklahoma for display at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum has been underway for several years.
The plane was hit after a bombing run over German-occupied Poland. It crashed into the Adriatic Sea on Dec. 17, 1944. The crew apparently tried to get the plane back to its base in Italy, but they eventually decided to ditch it in the Adriatic.