A US military team will take the bodies of four World War II servicemen home from China today after spending almost two months in Tibet investigating the wreckage of a cargo plane that went down in 1944. A team of 14 Americans from the US army and the US air force, including an anthropologist and two mountaineers, were led by Chinese guides to the wreckage of the C-46 aircraft in a mountain meadow at more than 4,000 metres in the Langko area of southeast Tibet. The team also found the wreckage of a similar World War II cargo plane spread over mountain passes. The wreckage is about 4,000 metres up from the nearest village in a northeastern part of Tibet called Damnya, but the team has not obtained Beijing's permission to move the crew's remains. 'It was like winning the jackpot,' US army captain Daniel Rouse said yesterday at a press conference in Beijing, where he appeared with other team members and a Chinese counterpart. 'Both sides were excited when we started to discover the remains at Langko.' The wrecks are among the first found among an estimated 500 to 600 US World War II planes that crashed along the dangerous 'hump route' between Kunming and India. Aircraft used the 'aluminum trail' - so-called because of the wreckage that litters the flight path - when the Japanese cut the Burma Road re-supply route in 1942. It is thought between 1,200 and 2,000 servicemen died in the crashes. The quest began in May 2000, when a man and woman in their 80s found the Langko wreckage and sent word back to the Chinese government, which notified US authorities. Some reported details of the initial discovery did not seem correct to the investigators, said Mr Tonga of the Tibet Autonomous Region Foreign Affairs Office, but 'nevertheless their information was of great use to us'. The US investigation team, established to bring back people missing in action, trained for high altitude work in Hawaii and Alaska before arriving in China on August 9. The training paid off. Despite rain, hail and snow, the worst mishap was food poisoning, one team member said. Investigators spent 2.5 weeks just a short distance from the Langko site before the cargo plane, with wings sheared and landing gear up, was discovered. The plane crashed in March 1944, after flying too far north and running out of fuel, team anthropologist James Pokines said. Locals had taken parachute parts and items identifying crew members, one of the salvage team said, but most of the wreckage had been left undisturbed. At the Damnya site, which was discovered by hunters and is too remote for most locals to access, the wreckage was more damaged, team members said. However, the US side had enough information to ask the Chinese government to retrieve the remains, they added. The team would take the Langko remains back to the United States today and spent several months identifying the bodies before family members were notified, Mr Pokines said.