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The 1946 Antarctica PBM Mariner crash occurred on 30 December 1946, on Thurston Island, Antarctica when a United States Navy Martin PBM-5 Mariner crashed during a blizzard.

1946 Antarctica PBM Mariner crash
Crashed U.S. Navy PBM-5 Mariner on Thurston Island, 11 January 1947.jpg
Wreckage and survivors of the crash photographed on 11 January 1947
Date30 December 1946
SummarySevere weather
SiteThurston Island, Antarctica
Aircraft typeMartin PBM Mariner
OperatorUnited States Navy

The crashEdit

The aircraft, Bureau Number 59098, callsign "George 1", hit a ridge and burned while supporting Operation Highjump. The crash killed crewmembers Aviation Radiomen Wendell K. Hendersin and Fredrick W. Williams and Ensign Maxwell A. Lopez. Six surviving crewmembers, including Aviation Radioman James H. Robbins, pilot Ralph "Frenchy" LeBlanc and co-pilot William Kearns, were rescued 13 days later by an aircraft from USS Pine Island (AV-12). Hendersin, Williams, and Lopez were buried at the crash site and their remains have not been recovered.

A two-expedition recovery mission was planned, but subsequently cancelled, for both November 2008 and November 2009 to recover the three fatalities of the crash from their 150-foot-deep 61-year-old temporary grave.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  • Huddleston, Scott (September 17, 2009). "Families, Navy at odds over 1946 crash" (Newspaper article). San Antonio Express News. Retrieved September 21, 2009.[dead link]
  • Hoffman, Carl (July 1, 2007). "Buried at the Bottom of the World" (Magazine article). Air & Space Smithsonian. Retrieved October 30, 2009.

Coordinates: 72°06′S 99°00′W / 72.1°S 99.0°W / -72.1; -99.0