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October 24, 2005

Frozen Airman's Remains Arrive in Hawaii

- The remains of the frozen airman found in the High Sierra arrived at Hickam Air Force Base Monday, but a positive identification cannot be made until DNA testing is complete.

The remains of the airman, now wrapped in an American flag, arrived at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. The body left Fresno wrapped in plastic.

A service with full military honors may give one family closure six decades after the plane crash.

Lab scientists in Hawaii will likely use dental records, military records and DNA from possible family members to unravel this mystery.

Just over a week ago the man's frozen body was discovered by hikers in the High Sierra.

A military report revealed an AT-7 plane crashed in the area in 1942. Some remnants of the plane and its crew were recovered years later.

"There was a badge in the shirt pocket, but it is corroded," said forensic pathologist Dr. Paul Emanovsky. "After we take it in and clean it up we might be able to look at it under an alternate light source. It could be something that was stamped."

"He's served his country well, and he's still serving now. He's been wearing the same uniform for 63 years, and I think it's about time he come home," said forensic pathologist Dr. Robert Mann.

The discovery of the man's body in the local mountains has attracted national attention.

The coroner says it could take weeks to get a positive identification on the man. Forensic pathologists in Hawaii say it's not unusual for them to deal with frozen remains, and their expertise may speed up the process.

Action News anchor Eric Rasmussen is traveling to Hawaii and will have reports this week as scientists try to determine the identity of the frozen airman found in the High Sierra.


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