BEIJING, Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- KongZhong Corporation (NASDAQ:KONG), a leading provider of digital entertainment services for consumers in the PRC and operator of the Wargaming War Saga game, "World of Warplanes", announced today the launch of the "Flying Tigers Salvage Project" in Dian Lake of Yunnan, China, to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Sino-Japanese War victory as well as the history of alliance between the U.S. and China. This undertaking received the approval and full support of relevant authorities including: Yunnan Provincial Dept. of Culture, Kunming Culture Radio & TV Sports Bureau, Dian Lake Management Bureau of Kunming, Kunming Marine Bureau and the Chinese Aviation Museum. The search and recovery work has commenced in Dian Lake in cooperation with the Marine Exploration Team of the Shanghai Marine Bureau.
The pilots of The American Volunteer Group (AVG), nicknamed the Flying Tigers for their distinct shark-tooth design on their P-40 fighter aircraft noses, fought side-by-side with the Chinese against Japanese forces in China and Burma. The Flying Tigers achieved remarkable success as they were reported to have destroyed 298 Japanese planes while only losing 12 P-40s in combat from 20 December 1941 to July 1942. In early March 1943 the Flying Tigers were absorbed into the U.S. 14th Air Force, which continued the fight against the Japanese until the end of the war.
According to historical documents, one P-40 crashed into Dian Lake during a gunnery training flight on 28 May 1942. It is estimated that the crash location is in a 40 square kilometer area around Daqing Shan in the west bank of Dian Lake. Since all the other Flying Tigers fighters with shark-tooth design were destroyed, this could be the only surviving, and possibly intact, Flying Tigers fighter in the world.
Since the end of the last century, many institutions in China have made attempts to salvage the aircraft but failed due to various difficulties. The official of the Shanghai Marine Bureau in charge of the salvage work commented, "The environment at the bottom of Dian Lake is quite complex, and this aircraft has been dormant for 71 years in the water; therefore, general detection equipment will not suffice. This time our team will use a variety of advanced detection equipment to do the salvage work, including sonar, magnetic detectors, and shallow stratigraphic section instrument to scan underwater. Based on information from previous attempts, the team has determined multiple high probability locations to perform a comprehensive survey."Why would a leading Internet company want to get involved with the underwater salvage project of a WWII relic? Mr. Wang Lei Lei, CEO of KongZhong Corporation explained, "KongZhong has strong influences among many young people today. As an influential Internet company, we are committed not only to commercial success but also to social responsibility. We hope that salvaging the WWII aircraft will educate the young and shed light upon this memorable period in China's history, and through the introduction of the war themed games including "World of Tanks," "World of Warplanes" and "World of Warships," we can help enhance Chinese people's national defense awareness and sense of patriotism." The surveying work will be ongoing for several weeks, after which the divers will investigate high probability locations one by one, trying their best to confirm the P-40 crash site within a month. When conditions permit, Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Research Institute will perform the underwater salvage work. Upon a successful salvage, the aircraft will be donated to the relevant government agency for preservation and permanent display.