Body found in Sierra Nevada glacier believed to be WWII airman |

Body found in Sierra Nevada glacier believed to be WWII airman

FRESNO, Calif. – Two climbers on a Sierra Nevada glacier discovered an ice-encased body believed to be that of an airman whose plane crashed in 1942.The man was wearing a World War II-era Army-issued parachute when his frozen head, shoulder and arm were spotted Sunday on 13,710-foot Mount Mendel in Kings Canyon National Park, park spokeswoman Alex Picavet said.Park rangers and specialists camped on the remote mountainside in freezing weather for an excavation expected to take several days. The body was 80 percent encased in ice, Picavet said Wednesday.”We’re not going to go fast,” she said. “We want to preserve him as much as possible. He’s pretty intact.”The excavation crew included an expert from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military unit that identifies and recovers personnel who have been missing for decades.Park officials believe the serviceman may have been part of the crew of an AT-7 navigational training plane that crashed on Nov. 18, 1942. The wreckage and four bodies were found in 1947 by a climber.Some 88,000 Americans are missing in action from past wars, military officers said. Most of them – 78,000 – are from World War II.The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command works on hundreds of cases a year, averaging two identifications a week, said spokeswoman Rumi Nielson-Green.Finding bodies preserved in a glacier is unusual but not unheard of, command officials said. Two years ago, the unit recovered the body of a Cold War-era officer who died in Greenland.Vail, Colorado

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