ECU researchers plan to study sunken WWII aircraft in Pacific Ocean

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Researchers from East Carolina University plan to study a sunken World War II aircraft in the South Pacific in 2020.

Students and staff with ECU’s Maritime Studies Program and Biology Department will be conducting research at the Battle of Saipan.

The group plans to revisit two deep sea sites to study corrosion threats and the decaying process of sunken plane. Staff members say they are hoping their research will help better predict how long the sites will last.

“That’s some of the questions that we want to ask is ‘How long are these sites going to be here?’,” said Jennifer McKinnon. “Also, how we might adjust the way we visit the sites or use the sites for heritage trails and tourism so that they will last into the future.”

McKinnon is an associate professor and archaeologist at ECU. She has been visiting these sites for nearly a decade.

She says the team is interested in studying the microorganisms which grow on the surface of the wreckage. Additionally, they plan to collect samples and bring them back for further research at ECU labs.

This research trip was made possible through a $29,000 grant from the National Parks Service.

The trip will take place in March of 2020.

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