Long-Lost U.S. WWII 'Dakota' Plane Found in Melting Swiss Glacier

Playing Melting Glacier Reveals Wreckage of WWII-Era U.S. Plane in Swiss Alps

The hidden wreckage of a U.S. World War II plane that crashed into a Swiss glacier 72 years ago has been revealed, thanks to a heat wave sweeping parts of Europe.

The American C-53 Skytrooper plowed into the Gauli Glacier in the Bernese Alps on Nov. 19, 1946.

All eight passengers and four crew members were rescued four days after the plane landed. At the time, it was the largest alpine rescue operation and was considered the birth of the Swiss air rescue team.

The military transport airplane, known as the "Dakota," had been buried by ice until the summer's heat wave began melting the aircraft's snowy coffin.

A propeller was found in 2012, but nothing else. After the ice began thawing, wings, propellers and a debris field was seen. Everyday items like tin cans and spoons were also uncovered. 

Swiss archaeologists aren't sure whether they will be able to completely recover the wreckage.

The plane had been flying from Austria to Pisa, Italy, when bad weather forced the pilots to take a long detour so they would not have to cross the Alps. They were headed toward Switzerland when gusting wind and a snowstorm forced them to set down on the glacier.

The Swiss Army sent a huge rescue team after hearing an emergency radio call from the aircraft.

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