Fifteen people from New Zealand died when an Air Force Catalina flying-boat crashed into the sea off Fiji in 1943 during World War II.

It was the deadliest New Zealand plane crash to that date, surpassing the toll of six nearly a year earlier when one of the country's top military men was in a Hudson bomber that disappeared without trace.

The Catalina was reported missing on a sea flight on Saturday, June 5, 1943.

Wreckage from the plane was found at Dravuni Island, about 80km south of Suva, Fiji. The 15 men who had been on the plane were

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