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WWII airman remains found on top of glacier

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

By Garance Burke

August 21, 2007 12:00am

HIKERS have discovered the remains of a man believed to be a World War II airman on top of a glacier in California, not far from where a missing aviation cadet's body was found two years ago.

The second set of human remains was found in a high alpine region of Kings Canyon National Park last Wednesday, no more than 30 metres from where climbers spotted the ice-entombed body of Leo Mustonen in October 2005, park officials said today.

Rangers located the second body exposed on a remote glacier resting among granite boulders, his undeployed parachute stencilled ''US ARMY'' just centimetres away.

''It looks like his head was just resting on the rock,'' said Debbie Brenchley, the first ranger to spot the remains on Friday after hikers reported the find.

''You can see he has a wool sweater on, and a white collar and a ring on.''

The Fresno County Coroner's Office is overseeing the retrieval of the remains, which were scheduled to arrive in Fresno tonight.

Military anthropologists plan to analyse the body, which they believe could be one of three men who were flying with Mustonen when their AT-7 navigational trainer plane disappeared after takeoff from a Sacramento, California, airfield on November 18, 1942.

A blizzard is believed to have caused the crash that killed Mustonen, pilot William Gamber, 23, and aviation cadets John Mortenson, 25, and Ernest Munn, 23, of St Clairsville, Ohio.

Military officials planned to notify families of the three missing men, said Robert Mann, deputy scientific adviser for the Hawaii-based Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command.


body remains
A WW2 airman's remains ... found on top of California's Sierra Nevada glacier.

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