Lost WWII Plane Found Buried Under 340 Feet Of Ice…In Greenland

Is Greenland’s Ice Disappearing?


Image Source: AVweb, August 2018

I. Emergency Landing In 1942

In July 1942, a squadron of six U.S. P-38 fighter planes and two B-17 bombers embarked on a flight mission to England when they were suddenly bombarded by severe weather.

All 8 planes were consequently forced to emergency-land on the southeastern corner of the Greenland ice sheet, about 29 kilometers from the coastal edge.

While all 25 of the occupants were ultimately rescued, the 8 planes had to be abandoned atop the surface of Greenland as it existed in 1942.  Eventually, the planes were buried beneath decades of ice and snow accumulation.

II. The first “Lost Squadron” plane rescued in 1992…buried under 268 feet of ice

Over the course of the next several decades, a nostalgic interest in a search-and-recovery effort grew.  After all, the Lost Squadron planes were effectively new when they were abandoned and, if preserved well enough, they could potentially be restored to flying condition.

The first several attempts to locate the planes during the 1980s were unsuccessful, as the search crews had underestimated how deep beneath the surface the planes were after 40-plus years of ice sheet growth.  It ultimately took 12 tries before the first plane was spotted.

In 1988 the search crews were finally able to pinpoint the location of a P-38 that was ultimately named “Glacier Girl”. She was buried 260 feet (79.2 meters) below the surface of the ice sheet as it existed in 1988.

By 1992 the 260-foot depth had grown to 268 feet (81.7 meters), and “Glacier Girl” was slowly (piece-by-piece) retrieved from the ice.

III. Another Lost Squadron plane was found in mid-2018…buried under 340 feet of ice

Accompanied by far less fanfare, another Lost Squadron P-38 was located in 2018 using drone technology.

This plane was found buried under another 72 feet – 21.9 meters – of ice relative to the 1992 recovery site for the first P-38 rescue (340 feet versus 268 feet).

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