Glenn Miller: Possible crash site investigated by US team

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Glen Miller
Image caption,
Glenn Miller's plane took off from Bedford for Paris, on 15 December 1944

A US team is investigating if a plane carrying band leader Glenn Miller might have crashed off the Dorset coast.

The UC-64A Norseman disappeared over the English Channel in 1944 in one of World War Two's most enduring mysteries.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is following up a claim from a fisherman who said he snagged a plane in his nets in 1987.

The aircraft and its three occupants have never been found.

TIGHAR said it remains a "possibility" it was Miller's plane.

An area off Portland Bill could be where the wreckage of the aircraft of Glenn Miller is located, US investigators have said.

The plane carrying the musician - famous for records including Pennsylvania 6-5000 and In The Mood - took off from Bedford for Paris, on 15 December 1944, but disappeared over the English channel.

Media caption,

A notebook from plane spotter Richard Anderton helps prove a theory about Glenn Miller's death

Ric Gillespie, executive director of Philadelphia based TIGHAR, said the fisherman had snagged the remains of an aircraft over 30 years ago and had let it drop back to the seabed about 30 miles south of Portland Bill.

Years later, the fisherman saw pictures of Miller's plane and realised it was the same type. He contacted a museum curator who put him in touch with the American researchers in 2017.

Mr Gillespie visited the UK in December to corroborate the story and said TIGHAR would shortly decide whether to carry out a physical search of the seabed.

Image caption,
Ric Gillespie said TIGHAR was considering whether a physical search of the seabed was viable

"These things often start with stories - if he really did pull up this wreck and let it go again, but knows where he let it go, the possibility exists there is a defined area that could be searched.

"And if his recollection is correct there is a possibility the wreckage of the Glenn Miller aircraft could be located."

It would mean the wreck is at a location further west than previously thought, which Mr Gillespie suggested could have been due to bad weather.

He said the fisherman was "sincere" in his claim but admitted the remains would be "hard to find".

"Some of the details of what he remembers seeing don't match the Miller aircraft ... but you don't expect a perfect memory after decades.

"We cannot not find any reason that the aircraft he pulled up could not be the Miller aircraft - we have not eliminated that possibility," he said.

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