It’s August 2018 and Europe has been sweltering in an unusually severe heat wave. High in the Swiss Alps a glacier, the Gauli, has been receding in the unaccustomed heat. And as it melts it reveals evidence of dramatic incident from 1946. Indeed, it was in this very spot in November that year where an American C-53 Skytrooper plane smashed into the mountain side.
The C-53 Skytrooper, a variant of the Douglas DC-3 civilian aircraft, was a U.S. military passenger plane. Four crew members and eight passengers were aboard her that November night when she took off from the German city of Munich. Her destination on the flight was meant to be Marseille in the south of France.
But the Skytrooper had flown into a storm as she crossed the Bernese Alps and had come to grief in these unforgiving mountains. Temperatures on the Gauli Glacier that night were a bone-chilling five degrees Fahrenheit. And the poor weather conditions had forced the pilot to divert from his planned course.