After working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for two consecutive months, a joint Navy-civilian dive team has uncovered the underwater remains of a downed WWII pilot near the Pacific islands of Palau, according to a Navy release.

The recovery project was spearheaded by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA, and was based aboard the USNS Salvor, a Navy rescue and salvage ship operated by civilian mariners.

An underwater recovery team consisting of U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force service members performed the excavations. The team made multiple dives, each one lasting an hour, to fill baskets full of bottom sediment, which crew members and an archaeologist onboard the Salvor then spent hours sifting through.

The operation uncovered multiple aircraft losses shot down in 1944 near Ngerekebesang Island of the Republic of Palau.

Remains of WWII personnel potentially associated with the downed aircraft were found, but they will not be identified until a thorough analysis is complete, a positive identification is made and next of kin are notified.

The DPAA conducts global search, recovery and laboratory operations to locate missing service personnel and provide the greatest possible record-keeping for missing service members’ families and the country.

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