Investigators recovered the suspected remains of a US Marine listed as missing during the Vietnam War shortly before the gravesite was to become part of a resort development, an official said Tuesday.
The remains, along with others which could be linked to two separate missing-in-action cases, were flown to the United States on Tuesday after a ceremony in Da Nang city, said Ron Ward, of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in Hanoi.
Ward said a joint team of US and Vietnamese searchers arrived just in time to excavate the grave containing what they believe are remains of the Marine who went missing from his unit in 1966.
"There was a resort and golf course being built there and in not too much more time it probably would've been covered," Ward said.
The site lies just south of the central city of Da Nang, a rapidly developing area popular with tourists.
In another repatriation case, residents in the southern Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh found some remains along the coast, and reported them to officials, Ward said.
Elsewhere, a villager in central Quang Binh province handed over remains thought to be linked to the crash of an F-4 fighter-bomber in the area in 1966, he said.
All of the repatriated remains will be analyzed further at JPAC headquarters in Hawaii.
Also during their recent mission, in waters around a kilometer off Nghe An province, investigators recovered wreckage which could be linked to an F-4 which disappeared with two US Navy aviators aboard during a mission in 1966, Ward said.
"We've been investigating this case for many, many years," he said, but a breakthrough came when Vietnamese fishermen snagged their nets on some of the debris.
Since the end of US combat involvement in 1973, 655 Americans listed as missing during the war have been repatriated from Vietnam and identified but 1,313 remain unaccounted for, the US says.
Hanoi says about 300,000 Vietnamese soldiers of the liberation forces are also still listed as missing from the war.