SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Two teams of investigators from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command will spend six weeks in Papua New Guinea searching for evidence of about 50 American servicemembers still missing from World War II, JPAC officials said Friday.

A nine-member team will research nine ground sites in West New Britain, East New Britain and Central, Gulf, Enga and Morobe provinces, according to a JPAC statement. It will authenticate leads from eyewitnesses, conduct field research and gather information to determine if an excavation at a later date is warranted.

Additionally, a team of about 50 underwater investigators from four different organizations aboard the USNS Salvor will investigate a suspected airplane crash site in Simpson Harbor, New Britain, the statement said.

About 83,000 Americans remain missing from past conflicts, according to JPAC officials.

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