Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West
Missing Aircraft Appeal
Missing Aircraft Appeal is posted in an effort to focus renewed attention on important unresolved cases involving United States Military aircraft that have disappeared in the last century.
There is new information on Case 1 at the bottom of the case.
WWII Hero Pilot MIA in USA Major Owen R Allred 8.23.1947 Long Island Sound.
For information click on the .PDF links.
The purpose of this letter and suggestion, albeit out of the ordinary, is to request a renewed search effort concerning a missing U.S. Navy C-47 Aircraft, BUNR 17254, which is presumed to have crashed and was lost on August 4, 1969 in Chile, South America. It has Never been located.
The loss of this aircraft is an unsolved mystery even to this day. This incident hardly received any newsworthy attention in 1969 and during the subsequent years that passed. There are very few archived news releases about this incident which has practically become a forgotten occurrence. It is something that I have often wondered about over the years that have passed, because at the time of the disappearance I was a young dependent child of a U.S. Air Force service member stationed in Chile.
U.S. Military investigative documentation regarding the disappearance of the U.S. Navy C-47 is available at the following webpage for the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, JAG Manual Investigations:
Once at this webpage you can access the rather lengthy investigative documentation by clicking on “Download” for the following description:
1969 04 AUG MISSING AIRCRAFT BUNO 17254 Download
According to the investigative report, the U.S. Navy aircraft was on a scheduled maintenance flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina and on board were 16 passengers comprised of U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force service members along with several spouses.
Radio contact with the U.S. Navy aircraft was lost after the aircraft was approximately 27 miles south of the capital city of Santiago (some 20 minutes after departure) somewhere between Rancagua, Chile and Angostura, Chile according to the report findings.
The flight path appears initially to have been one that flew along the Chilean side of the Andes mountain range until it was to reach a more southern point at Curico, Chile and then take a flight path East through an approved mountain pass through the Andes mountains towards Buenos Aires.
The lost radio contact happened at least 15 minutes before the aircraft was even scheduled to reach the southern beacon point at Curico, Chile to access the southern mountain pass.
The August timeframe is during the winter season in Chile and Argentina (essentially the reverse of our seasons here in the U.S.) and the weather conditions were apparently very poor. Although a somewhat intensive search was conducted at the time by Chilean military and civilian personnel along with some American military aircraft support, severe weather was a factor and the search ended on August 14, 1969. References were made to continuing the search later during their warmer season but I have not been able to confirm that this ever really took place.
This unresolved and mysterious tragedy was overshadowed and subsequently forgotten due in part to the extreme weather conditions at the time and quite possibly because on July 24, 1969 the Apollo 11 Astronauts had just returned from the first successful moon landing.
As I mentioned earlier, this incident strikes a personal note for me because at the time my father was in the U.S Air Force stationed in Chile along with my mother and siblings and we knew some of those on board. This tragedy is also one which has never really had closure for the surviving family members (especially the dependent children given the time that has elapsed).
Realistically, I understand that the chances are remote that any evidence of wreckage will ever be located, but then again, technology has advanced since then, and there is always a chance that a renewed search might turn up something. Surely, high resolution satellite imagery and digital analysis could play a big part in discovering the wreckage of the aircraft. In order for there to be any attention given to this unsolved tragedy, it needs to be brought to the attention of our government, the Chilean government and anyone else that might have expertise in finding and recovering lost and missing aircraft.
My hope is that this lost aircraft mystery is of interest to you and that you might consider helping with a renewed effort to help locate the wreckage.
I believe what prompted me to finally express this request is my having come across a blog site addressing aircraft crashes at:
On this Blog site there are posts from at least two individuals whose parents were passengers on the ill-fated aircraft. They are still hoping that the wreckage site will be found one day.
Bradley G. Burris
This is a link to the virtual cemetery created for the crew of the C-47.
On 26 Jan 50, USAF C-54D 42-72469 failed to arrive at Great Falls MT on a flight from Anchorage AK. The last known position was over Snag, Yukon Territory, Canada. A massive joint US-Canadian search was conducted, but the aircraft and its victims were never found. With 44 people on board this is probably the largest unresolved missing aircraft case in North America.
Family members and interested researchers are spearheading an effort to renew the search for this aircraft. If you have not done so already, please consider joining his facebook page, Operation Mike, at www.facebook.com/operationmike. This page serves as a place for people interested in this accident to connect, and as new (or forgotten) information is discovered, it is being posted here for all to see and discuss.
This group is also petitioning the US government to have the Air Force reopen the search. Not only is the technology available today significantly advanced from what was available in 1950, archival records indicate that the original search, while large, was not as systematic or comprehensive as it should have been. The petition is at Whitehouse.gov, http://wh.gov/E7a