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War Time Skeletal Remains Not New Zealanders

War Time Skeletal Remains Not New Zealanders
New Zealand Police National News Release
8:53am 18 February 2008
http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release.html?id=3706


Forensic work carried out on skeletal remains handed to NZ Police in the Solomon Islands has drawn no links with those of New Zealand servicemen killed when their plane crashed in the Solomon Islands during WWII.

New Zealand police serving with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) took possession of the remains last year after they were made aware of the crash site on Malaita Island and the remains of two bodies nearby. When the remains were discovered, it was the belief of local villagers that they were associated with the crash.

Five servicemen were killed when a Royal New Zealand Air Force Ventura bomber aircraft crashed and exploded on the island in May 1945. A RNZAF party located the crash site and some remains at the time. Due to the nature of the crash all the men were presumed to have perished. The search party at the time buried the remains and a service was conducted for the servicemen.

Superintendent Stuart Wildon of the International Service Group, NZ Police, says once NZ police became aware there were unburied remains near the crash site, possibly those of New Zealand servicemen, it was important to ensure that they were properly taken care of.

"The initial indications, supported by the view of the local villagers, were that the remains were connected to the crash in 1945, and although the forensic work has now drawn no links between the remains and the New Zealand servicemen, it was important that proper steps were taken until that was established".

NZ Police is now satisfied that the remains are likely to be those of persons who died in the area in circumstances unrelated to the crash.

Mr Wildon said forensic dental work carried out by the NZ Defence Force determined that the remains are likely to be those of persons who died in the area although it is unknown to be those of local people - one female and one elderly male.how or when they died.

Because this matter involved the possibility that the remains were those of New Zealand servicemen, it was reported to the Wellington Region Coroner, Mr Ian Smith who has been informed of the forensic results. The file will now be closed and arrangements are being made to hand the remains back to the people of Malaita Island where they were found.


ENDS

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