17 Men's Remains Recovered From '50s Plane Crash

Remains spent decades under Alaska glacier
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2014 2:57 AM CDT
Updated Jun 19, 2014 7:49 AM CDT
Military Returns 17 Bodies From '50s Plane Crash
The Joint Task Force-Alaska Team from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright recovers debris on Colony Glacier near Anchorage, Alaska.    (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)

The families of 17 servicemen killed when an Air Force transport plane crashed into an Alaskan mountain in 1952 can now finally bury their loved ones. Wreckage from the Globemaster aircraft was found near Mount Gannett in 2012 after having spent decades buried under the ice of Colony Glacier, and POW/MIA teams have scoured the area for remains of the 52 people who were on board. The remains that investigators have managed to identify will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors, reports Fox News. The first burial will be that of Pvt. Leonard Kittle, who will be laid to rest in his hometown in Kansas on Saturday.

His younger sister, 82-year-old Beatrice Crawford, says the military declared everybody on board dead a week after the crash. "They told us that they were no longer with us, that they'd given up the hunting," she tells the New York Times; bad weather stymied immediate recover efforts, and the wreckage was later IDed as the C-124 Globemaster. Military officials say that 35 service members have yet to be recovered, and the site will be monitored to see if the glacier gives up any more remains, the AP reports. At the time of the crash, the AP reported that the plane exploded and disintegrated over as many as three acres; a compass, a survival kit, and a hockey puck were among the other items recovered at the scene. (Click for more on the wreckage's discovery.)

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