LOST IN SHANGRI LA

What a fascinating story and a true story at that. A USA military cargo plane with many USA military personnel on board crash lands in dense jungle in the inner reaches of Dutch New Guinea. This is second world war time. By this time Dutch New Guinea had been liberated of Japanese control. Dutch New Guinea is now called West Papua (as distinct from Papua New Guinea an independent country to the East of West Papua but on the same Island) and West Papua is controlled by Indonesia. There were only 3 survivors of this crash a woman and two men. 
What developed was an intricate rescue by the USA military forces based in Hollandia (on the north coast). The survivors found they were in a valley aka called a hidden valley aka called Shangri La. There were many people living in this valley. These tribal people were living stone age living. These people knew nothing about the outside world. The USA military dropped a handful of soldiers (parachuted) in to this valley to aid the survivors. Now how to get their people out. To get to this valley by overland trekking would take weeks and super human strength. So what? They could parachute a construction battalion (see bees) into this valley to build an airstrip. No, another plan was enacted. Land gliders in the valley. A glider needs only a short strip to land and take off. Then by using an airborne cargo motorised plane snatch the glider back up in to the air using cable ropes etc. Think it can not be done, wrong, it was done three times to get all the personnel out of this valley back to Hollandia. It took a few weeks for the rescue to happen and in the mean time the survivors and their military help tried to mingle with the natives. The natives numbered in the thousands. They used stone axes. The natives thought that the white people were white spirits from the sky. The natives though warlike amongst themselves were non threatening to both the survivors and their now accompanying military support. The natives were even like child like. They were like a bunch of children they only knew simple things. Complex did not invade their society. They seemed content. And they had good teeth. They grew lots of sweet potato. They had constructed homes. 
The snatching of the gliders from the ground was successful and the survivors came back to civil life and to some fame. The hidden valley natives became a curiosity so in time after the ending of the war other white people ventured to see them. There is an airstrip and a town in this valley now. The place was opened up. After the war missionaries went in and converted. Natives still live in this valley descendents of the stone age tribes but these latter day natives have lost their independence and zest for life. 

A great read.

Yours Sincerely; Lester John Murray.

http://www.facebook.com/lester.john.murray

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