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1948 Plane Wreck Found

Not much remains of an ill-fated chartered Northwest Airlines flight that crashed into a peak in Alaska's remote Wrangell Mountains on March 12, 1948, reports CBS News Correspondent Ed Crane.
Pilots turned amateur sleuths Marc Millican and Kevin McGregor made the grim discovery.

"We wanted to find the airplane, we wanted to positively identify the airplane, and we want to commemorate the people that died on the airplane," Millican said.

On board the plane were 24 merchant marines on their way to New York from Shanghai. They and the six crew members all perished. The plane slammed into the peak of Mount Sanford before sliding more than 3,000 feet.

One area resident still remembers that fateful day.

"We watched an explosion and fireball and then we watched the pieces that were still in flames slide down the mountain," said eyewitness Ben Hollman.

The crash site - under ice and inaccessible for decades - may never have been discovered were it not for recent glacial movement.

Millican and McGregor showed off some of what they discovered at a press conference. Despite longstanding rumors, the pair said there was no evidence a stash of gold was aboard the plane.

"Down the road we're pretty sure that we can answer a lot of questions as to the legendary gold," McGregor said. "Why the rumors started, where they came from, and why at least most of them are not true."

The park service has temporarily closed the crash site area until it comes up with a plan to protect the remains.