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Crashed WWII plane Wreck provides boon for villagers
( 2003-10-09 21:29) (Xinhua)

Deep in the mountains of southwest China's Yunnan Province lies the remote village of Jiangdong - so remote that it is inaccessible by car and visitors must walk in and out.

Modern life appears to have passed by Jiangdong, but the numerous metal wash basins and grain storage containers testify to a time almost 60 years ago when a world at war provided an unexpected boon to the poor farming folk of the village.

The household items and other communal facilities came from the wreckage of a World War II fighter plane which plunged into the village after the pilot bailed out one day in October 1944.

Nobody was known to be hurt in the crash which was witnessed by Chen Maonong, a 70-year-old man who since emigrated to Myanmar.

On a return visit to his family in Jiangdong this month, Chen said the plane crashed near a walnut tree about 10 meters from his house.

The fire caused by the crash lasted for three days and to this day, the nationality of the unidentified aircraft is still unkown.

Chen Zimao, a villager, said residents hired a blacksmith, surnamed Liu, who took more than two years to turn the plane's wings made into about 300 basins and nearly every family had one.

Yang Shizai, a villager, still keeps two big water tanks about 2.2 meters long, one meter wide and 60 centimeter high, which are used as grain storage containers. Another container was marked "No: 94-40321 low pressure oxygen cylinder".

During World War II, General Claire Lee Chennault, commander of the US 14th Air Fleet I, organized American volunteer pilots into a squadron known as the "Flying Tigers" to transport arms and other materials to help China fight the Japanese invaders.

The US volunteers opened the famous air route from India to Kunming and Chongqing cities in southwest China via Burma, now known as Myanmar. Some of the Tiger pilots were killed during the war and people have been searching for their remains in China's southwestern mountainous regions.

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