Rola Heri, February 5
A metal piece, believed to be the wreckage of an aircraft that crashed more than 50 years ago, was found on the Markanda riverbed today.
The piece, believed to be the wing, was found by a farmer who cultivates vegetables on the riverbed. When the farmer struck the metal, he tried to dig it out, but failed.
Further digging revealed that it was a large piece of metal shaped like an aircraft wing. The police, was then informed about the discovery, at which, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Uday Shankar, reached the spot to take stock of the situation. The farmers had dug a large hole to make the aircraft piece clearly visible.
The Superintendent of Police at Ambala, Mr Hardeep Singh Doon, said the aircraft wreckage had been found by chance. “Air Force authorities have been informed about the discovery of an aircraft wreckage,” he said, “and we have been told that the aircraft crashed more than five decades ago.”
A visit to the spot showed that the wreckage was buried deep. A large hole had been dug and a part of a wing spaning 12 feet could be seen in it. The place where the wreckage lay is inaccessible by road and one has to cross the dry Markanda riverbed to reach the spot.
Mr Faqir Chand, 75, of Rola Heri village, said an aircraft had crashed in the area in 1947. “I was a boy then. The aircraft crashed on the riverbed and hit the embankment before coming to a stop. We had never seen an aircraft, and, in those days, the area was not connected with road,” he said.
He said that the pilot of the ill-fated aircraft had survived the crash and told villagers to get him assistance. “The pilot had sustained injuries on his legs and as far as I can remember, the aircraft was not burnt in the incident,” he said.
At that time, no attempt was made to retrieve the aircraft. “When we visited the site after three years, the wreckage, covered by the sand of River Markanda, still lay there and it has been there ever since,” said Mr Faqir Chand.
At the time of filing the report, the digging was still on. It had become clear during the digging that the part that was visible was of an aircraft. A JCB machine was being brought to the spot, so that, the digging could be made quick.
Policemen stood guard at the spot and they had a difficult time keeping the curious onlookers at bay. The villagers were surprised at the discovery.
The part of the wing that is visible does not bear any number or identification mark. An attempt was made to look for these under the painted wing by scratching it, but no success was achieved.