Saturday, June 30, 2012

Air Force plane and crew missing for 60 years discovered on Alaska glacier

From Yahoo News: Air Force plane and crew missing for 60 years discovered on Alaska glacier

A U.S. Air Force plane that disappeared 60 years ago in Alaska has been found on a glacier, 14 miles from where it originally crashed into a mountain.

The C-124 Globemaster and its crew of 52 servicemen were lost when the plane crashed in November 1952. A military spokeswoman said that a recovery team is still working to officially identify debris found on Colony Glacier, about 45 miles east of Anchorage, but that the military believes it to be from the long-missing place.

"Some of the evidence positively correlates to the United States Air Force Globemaster that crashed in 1952," said Captain Jamie Dobson of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), which specializes in recovering remains of lost military personnel, the Associated Press reports.

An Alaska National Guard helicopter crew conducting a routine training mission in the area first spotted the wreckage on June 10. The findings, which reportedly include suspected bone fragments, are currently being analyzed at JPAC's laboratory in Hawaii.

"They weren't seeing human remains. They were seeing wreckage. But it wasn't recoverable. It was frozen in ice," Dobson said.

Members of the recovery team descended into some of the glacier's crevasses to look for additional remains but were not able to recover further debris.

Historian Doug Beckstead said that pilots searched for the C-124 in the days after it crashed into Mount Gannett. Six days after the crash, pilots spotted the plane's tail sticking out from snow on the mountain. However, bad weather eventually brought an end to the search efforts before any of the crew's bodies could be recovered. Eventually, the wreckage became covered in snow and its exact location was lost.

"Over the last 60 years, it's [the plane wreckage] just been flowing down that glacier," Beckstead said.

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