The wreckage of a plane found earlier this month on an Alaska glacier has been confirmed as an Air Force plane that crashed in 1952, killing all 52 aboard, according to an announcement Thursday by military officials.
Yahoo News reports that Army Captain Jamie Dobson confirmed evidence found at the crash site matches information on the missing C-124A Globemaster, although the military is not eliminating other possibilities until further investigation is done, like processing DNA samples of relatives of those on board the plane, which could take up to six years.
Dobson stated that:
“We’re still at the very beginning of this investigation. This is very close to the starting line, not the finish line.”
According to the Associated Press, the wreckage was discovered by the Alaska National Guard, who found plane parts and possible remains on June 10th on Colony Glacier, which is about 40 miles east of Anchorage.
The plane’s wreckage was originally spotted soon after the plane disappeared on November 22, 1952, with 52 people aboard, but it soon became buried in snow and possibly churned around beneath the surface of the glacier. Dobson said that:
“The ice gives up what it wants to give up when it wants to give it up. It’s really in control.”
An old Associated Press report from Nov. 24, 1952 stated that the Globemaster plane, which went down on a flight from McChord Air Force Base in Washington, was the third large Air Force plane to go down or missing in Alaska that month, and the sixth in the Pacific Rim.
Fox News reports that a 12-member military team attempted multiple times to reach the site of the crash, but bad weather kept them from doing so. However, a member of the Fairbanks Civil Air Patrol, as well as a member of the 10th Air Rescue Squadron, were able to land at a nearby glacier and positively identified the wreckage from the plane’s tail numbers. the civil air patrol member, Terris Moore, told reporters on returning that the plane “obviously was flying at full speed” when it hit Mount Gannett, sliding down the cliffs, exploding, and disintegrating over a span of two or three acres. Moore recalled the “sickly-sweet smell of death” in the area around the crash site.