C-46 missing in January 1945 in Arunachal Pradesh, India
77 years after the wreckage of a U.S. military plane that went missing during World War II, the plane crashes and kills 13 people on board. The discovery was made following a risky investigation commissioned by the son of one of the passengers. They took the lives of three guides. C-46 was coming from Kunming in southern China in January 1945 when it was caught in a storm in the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, India.
“We have never heard of this plane.” He’s just gone, ”Clayton Kuhles, head of the MIA Recoveries NGO, which conducted the research, said this week. The American and his local Liz guides faced extreme conditions in the mountains. They sometimes had to cross deep water rivers and camp at high altitudes in icy temperatures.
Last September, while three of these guides were camping in the middle of a blizzard, in the early stages of the voyage, they died due to hypothermia. Last month, the team finally found the wreckage of the plane at the top of an ice-covered mountain where it could be identified by its number still visible on the tail area of the aircraft. No remains of passengers were found there.
Clayton Kuhlas was appointed by Bill Sherry, the son of an officer who was on the plane. “I can say that I’m very happy to know where he is. It’s sad and happy,” he said in an email from New York. “I grew up without a father. When the telegram came that my husband was missing and my 13-month-old baby was alone with me, I could only think of my poor mother,” she added.
Hundreds of US military planes went missing from India, China and Burma during World War II. The hostile fire of the Japanese forces caused some air losses and, according to Clayton Kuhlas, most were damaged by snow or hurricane force winds.
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