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US Team Searches for Remains of Airmen Downed in China 50 Years Ago

A U.S. search team has arrived in Beijing to hunt for the remains of two American pilots who died when their plane crashed in northeast China in 1952. The United States hopes the results of the search will bring comfort and closure to the men's families.

The eight-person team arrived in Beijing from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. They aim to locate the remains of Robert C. Snoddy and Norman A. Schwartz.

They died when their C-47 crashed in Jilin province, while flying a mission for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in 1952.

The team of forensic specialists will survey the area, and speak with witnesses in their search for the remains.

The Army laboratory was established in 1976 to recover the remains of missing American military and civilian personnel lost in World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and the Vietnam War.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said in a statement that it is pleased the Chinese government has allowed the team to conduct the search. The embassy says cooperation in the search for unaccounted for American personnel is an important bilateral issue.

The United States is eager to explore the issue further with China. About 8,000 Americans are missing from the Korean War in the early 1950s, and many are believed to have been lost in China.