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Inside the Gates: Annual search of Colony Glacier yields more remains from 1952 crash

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 6:01 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - More human remains have been recovered from the November 1952 crash of a C-124 Globemaster at Colony Glacier. This year’s effort also recovered some other items.

“Just little trinkets like chess pieces and playing cards,” said Captain Lyndi Minott, of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Division at Deleware’s Dover Air Force Base. “We also found a pair of shoes. We found a map of the location on the ocean and landmarks.”

The plane slammed into Mount Gannett during bad weather while it flew to Elmendorf Air Force Base from Fort McChord in Washington State. All 52 people on board perished, and 43 have been identified since the plane crashed nearly 70 years ago.

“This year, thus far, we had recovered over 460 bags of remains, and nearly 100 bags of personal effects, like the ones displayed on the table here,” said Captain Briana Quintana, the lead planner of this year’s effort.

The search effort has taken place every year since 2013, one year after the Alaska Army National Guard found wreckage from the crash. This year’s recovery took place near the bottom of the glacier, about 14 miles from where the crash happened on top of the mountain.

“This glacier is really dynamic. It changes rapidly daily,” said Katherine Grasso, a medicolegal investigator. “We find not only does the pitch of the glacier change, but the type of material we find down there changes.”

Investigators have yet to identify the nine remaining people on the plane.

“As long as we are finding remains out on the glacier, and we have people yet to identify and bring home, we will keep looking,” said Quintana.

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