Page last updated at 04:10 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 05:10 UK

Papua 'remains' are not WWII body

The "feet" of a suspected WWII airman, found dangling in a tree in dense Papua New Guinean forest (image courtesy of Lisa Fabre)
Hikers thought moss-covered branches were the remains of a WWII airman (image courtesy of Lisa Fabre)

The suspected remains of a WWII airman discovered in a jungle region of Papua New Guinea have turned out to be the moss-covered branches of a tree.

Hikers on the country's Kokoda Trail found what appeared to be the remains of a parachutist tangled in wires and dangling in a tree two weeks ago.

Australian and Japanese forces fought several battles in the area in 1942-3.

The Australian military sent a team to investigate the "body" only to discover it was a branch tangled in vines.

Flight path

An Australian Defence Force (ADF) statement said that although the location of the find was below a flight path commonly used by Allied aircraft during WWII sorties, the "remains" were in fact a moss-covered branch.

The ADF said that no remains had been found.


"It appears the branch has broken off the main tree and fallen across some vines, which from the ground, could have been confused with the body of an airman," the ADF statement continued.

Hundreds of Australians lost their lives fighting off a Japanese invasion of Papua New Guinea.

Japanese losses were several times heavier.

The hillsides around the Kokoda Trail are littered with rusting guns, grenades and mortars - reminders of the WWII battles fought there.

'It seemed to be a body from WWII'
04 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Papua New Guinea
23 Jan 08 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Papua New Guinea
15 May 08 |  Country profiles


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