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Photos: 1952 military plane crash salvage on Colony Glacier

  • Author:
  • Updated: May 31, 2016
  • Published July 3, 2013

It's easy to see how somebody could get lost in the craggy crevasses of Alaska's Knik and Colony glaciers, located about 50 miles east of Anchorage, the state's largest city. It's even surprisingly easy to see how the shifting plates of ice and earth could slowly, over the course of 61 years, digest a huge military plane.

That's exactly what happened in 1952, when an Air Force C-124 cargo plane crashed into Mount Gannett, rising up out of the glacial plain. All 52 souls aboard perished in the accident. Searchers located the crash site some days after the event, but it wasn't long before the wreckage was swallowed up by the movement of the glacier, grinding and grumbling against itself, shifting and shape changing.

The terrain of Knik Glacier and surrounds is full of those crevasses, some only a few feet deep, others so deep you can't see the bottom. Some are just wide enough for a human body to squeeze in; some you could drop a dump truck into. There are some areas that look flatter than others, but then the trenches begin again, like giant claw marks scratched into earth.

It's within this terrain that crews from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright have been working to recover debris from that 1952 crash. After seven decades, the glacier saw fit to spit out some of the wreckage from that historic wreck, and in June, it was spotted by an Alaska Army National Guard helicopter on a routine training mission.

READ MORE: On Alaska's Colony Glacier, crews unearth military history

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