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Melting Alaska glacier reveals military plane crashed in 1952

By Eko Armunanto     Jul 12, 2013 in World
Alaska National Guard crews discovered relics from an Air Force cargo plane that slammed into a mountain in November 1952, killing all 52 servicemen on board. More material comes up to the surface as the glacier melts, including some human remains.
Identifications are expected to be announced in the near future, said Dr. Gregory Berg, who leads the team. The remains will be sent to a laboratory in Hawaii for analysis, including possible DNA matches with surviving relatives. So far, only the lightest pieces have been pushed to the glacier's surface, and only a small portion of the 154-foot aircraft has emerged. "We don't have all 52 guys lined up neatly, ready to be located," Berg said.
The discovery, which was initially made last summer on Alaska's Colony Glacier, was further excavated through a joint effort by the Alaska National Guard and the Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), said Reuters.
Daily Mail reported July 10 that the wrecked cargo plane, a C-124 Globemaster II, slammed into Mount Gannett in midwinter, an accident blamed on bad weather. Although officials knew the site of the crash, remoteness and winter weather made recovery impossible at the time. The wreckage was soon buried under snow and gone from sight. When finally spotted last year, the debris was 12 miles from the crash site, having been shifted by the glacier. The ice has flown another 275 meters (902 feet) down-slope since last year.
For Alaska-based military members supporting the JPAC effort, there is another mission: removing the crash debris that is not useful to the investigation. "That is the plan, to remove as much of the debris as possible from the site, to be good environmental stewards," Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Crowley of the Alaskan Command said. Approximately 1,800 pounds of aircraft debris had been removed by local military personnel as of early July, according to Crowley.
JPAC had arrived in Alaska in mid-June, about one year after the wreckage was first discovered on the glacier, spotted during a training exercise on June 10 last year. JPAC mounted a similar recovery effort then, picking through scraps of the historical wreckage in search of human remains and items that could be tied to specific service members who had been aboard the plane, in hopes of reuniting those remains and personal items with the victims' surviving family members.
More about Glacier, Alaska, melting glacier