Global Warming in Alaska Reveals Remains of 1952 Air Force Crash

Sunday, July 14, 2013
Debris from 1952 Air Force crash discovered in 2012 (photo: U.S. Air Force)

A melting glacier in Alaska has exposed remains of a U.S. Air Force plane that crashed more than 60 years ago, killing 52 servicemen.


The C-124 Globemaster II cargo aircraft slammed into Mount Gannett on November 22, 1952, during wintery conditions. Between bad weather and the remote location, the Air Force was unable to reach the site at the time of the accident. The wreckage was eventually buried under snow and disappeared from sight.


That is until June 10, 2012, when an Alaska National Guard crew flying a training mission with a Black Hawk helicopter out of Anchorage spotted the wreckage in a receding glacier known as Colony Glacier. Officials then notified the Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), which collected some of the remains.


Members of JPAC returned this summer to gather more remains, including some human. The remains will be sent to a laboratory in Hawaii for analysis, including possible DNA matches with surviving relatives.


Some of the personal items collected so far include a fishing kit, a compass, a survival kit, a survival suit, a hockey puck, a camp stove and a mini-box of Camel cigarettes.


These items and others will be saved for a future memorial to be established, according to Doug Beckstead, a historian at Anchorage's Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

As Glacier Melts, Secrets of Lost Military Plane Revealed (by Yereth Rosen, Reuters)

Melting Glacier Reveals more from 60-Year-Old C-124 Plane Crash (by Oriana Pawlyk, Air Force Times)

Debris from Old Military Plane on Glacier Collected for Analysis (by Casey Grove, Anchorage Daily News)


Dennis Hagen 9 years ago
My uncle Ingolf Hagen was on this plane!
yarply 10 years ago
Tom, Took the words right out of my mind.
Tom Brannon 10 years ago
So if global warming uncovered the remains does that mean that in 1952 it was just as warm as it is now? Maybe we had a global cooling period between then and now that created the glacier?
C-124 Families 10 years ago
Thanks for sharing our story. We look forward to bringing them home.

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