Remains of WWII airman found frozen in Sierra Nevada glacier
Associated Press Writer
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) ” Hikers discovered the remains of a man believed to be a missing World War II airman frozen inside a Sierra Nevada glacier not far from the spot where a missing aviation cadet’s body was found two years ago, authorities said Monday.
The second set of human remains were found in a high alpine region of Kings Canyon National Park on Wednesday, no more than 100 feet from where climbers spotted the ice-entombed body of Leo Mustonen in October 2005, park officials said.
Rangers located the second body partially exposed on a remote glacier resting among granite boulders, his undeployed parachute just inches away.
“It looks like his head was just resting on the rock,” said Debbie Brenchley, the first Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks 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 on Monday night.
Military anthropologists plan to analyze the body, which they believe could be one of three men who was flying with Mustonen when their AT-7 navigational plane disappeared after takeoff from a Sacramento, Calif., airfield on Nov. 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.