The emergency landing and subsequent survivor rescue of the American Dakota C-53 in the Alps is a landmark moment in both American and Swiss flight history, and thanks to a melting glacier, more of the downed plane is becoming accessible. Since the forced landing in 1946, the plane itself has been encased in ice. Now, Swiss researchers and historians have access to the two tons of materials from the plane that have thawed.
After the landing more than seven decades ago, the passengers of the flight, who were American soldiers and their families, waited for help for five days, drinking melted snow and sharing only a dozen candy bars between them. The Swiss Air Force was finally able to fly the survivors out of the Alps, but only two at a time.
The downed plane’s new accessibility is unfortunately the result of an extremely hot summer in Switzerland, as temperature increases have caused glaciers to melt more quickly. Though the cockpit remains frozen under more ice, some of the discoveries have been exciting. “We found an engine block with the propeller, some parts of the wing and a lot of small pieces, bits of sheet metal, wooden parts and also some blankets,” said Fritz Teuscher, who led the recovery team.
Thanks for reading InsideHook. Sign up for our daily newsletter and be in the know.