PRECEDE LONDON Libya Says Body of Second American Airman Washed Ashore
RABAT, Morocco (AP) _ Libya’s official news agency said today that the body of an American airman who took part in the U.S. bombing raids on Libya had washed ashore on a remote Tunisian beach.
The JANA report, broadcast by Radio Tripoli on Sunday night and today and monitored in Rabat, said the body was found on a sandspit near Ben-Gardane, 12 miles west of the Libyan border.
JANA said the airman belonged to the crew of ″one of the tens of planes which launched the barbaric American-NATO aggression against Tripoli and were shot down by our air defenses″ on April 15, when U.S. jets attacked Tripoli, the Libyan capital, and Benghazi.
U.S. officials have said only one American plane - an Air Force F-111 with two men aboard - was lost in the the raids on Libya. Libyan news media claimed earlier that the body of one American airman was found May 6 on a beach near al-Zawiyah, Libya.
Authorities in Tunis, the Tunisian capital, said they had no information about the new Libyan report. Ben-Gardane is 500 miles south of Tunis and has poor communications with the capital.
Jean Mammen, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, said when reached by telephone from Paris that American officials ″have simply seen the reports of the Libyan broadcast″ and had no further information.
The Reagan administration said it ordered the bombing raids on Libya in retaliation for Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s alleged support of international terrorism.
The U.S. Defense Department has identified the American airmen lost in the bombing raids as Capt. Fernando L. Ribas-Dominicci, 33, of Utuado, Puerto Rico, and Capt. Paul L. Lorence, 31, of San Francisco.
Libyan television showed film May 7 of the body it said was found at al- Zawiyah, which was clothed in a flight suit. The television report said that a helmet with the name Lorence printed on it was found near the body.
Western witnesses in Tripoli had reported seeing an F-111 crashing into the sea soon after being hit, apparently by a SAM-5 missile.
The F-111s that attacked Libya flew from bases in England, and were joined by carrier-based U.S. Navy jets.
The Libyan reference to NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, apparently was aimed at Britain, a member of the Western alliance, for allowing the F-111s to use the bases in England.