The wreckage of a military plane found this month on an Alaska glacier is that of an Air Force plane that crashed in 1952, killing all 52 people aboard, military officials said yesterday. Army Capt. Jamie Dobson said evidence at the crash site correlates with the missing C-124A Globemaster, but the military is not eliminating other possibilities. Processing DNA samples from relatives of those on board could take up to six years, Dobson said. "We're still at the very beginning of this investigation," she said.
The Alaska National Guard discovered the wreckage and possibly bones earlier this month on Colony Glacier, about 40 miles east of Anchorage. The wreckage was spotted soon after the heavy transport plane vanished Nov. 22, 1952, but it became buried in snow and likely churned beneath the surface of the glacier for decades. Though bad weather thwarted a military team that tried to reach the site, a Fairbanks Civil Air Patrol member made it to a nearby glacier days after the crash and positively identified the wreck, saying it was "obviously flying at full speed" when it hit Mount Gannett, sliding down snow-covered cliffs, exploding, and disintegrating over two or three acres. "If they can bring me one bone of my grandfather or his dog tag, that would be closure for me," says the granddaughter of an airman aboard the flight. (Read more Alaska stories.)