A recovery team in Greenland is attempting to evacuate and repatriate three servicemen who are thought to have been entombed in a glacier since their plane crashed in WWII. The Coastguard has commissioned a private squad in an attempt to find and finally remove the J2F-4 Grumman Duck biplane from the ice.
Nancy Pritcahrd Morgan, 87, from Maryland, USA, recalls the day 68 years ago when her mother telephoned to say her brother had been lost. “When I heard those words, my heart just sank,” she said in an interview with The Scotsman. He had been listed as missing two weeks earlier when the plane he was travelling in lost radio contact with the base.
The new mission, codenamed “Duck Hunt”, is utilising an arsenal of ground-penetrating radar and advanced ice-melting equipment which can pinpoint buried metal objects. The task is a race against time, however, to find the soldiers before their close relatives die or the glacier moves out to sea.
“Any branch of service wants to recover their fallen members, if they can,” said John Long, a Coastguard master chief petty officer and head of the mission. “It’s the right thing to do,” he added in the Scotsman report.
The 15-strong team has identified six sites as promising but progress has been slow due to harsh weather conditions. The original report of the 1942 accident determined that the crash took place within three-square miles and around 2,300ft above KogeBay on the country’s southeast coast.
The Grumman Duck would be a valuable artefact if recovered as only 32 were ever made. The three lost American men were stationed at a training camp in Greenland during the war.