The window to work safely on the Colony Glacier must be perfectly sandwiched between the snowpack clearing in early June and warming temperatures by mid-July that can cause an increase in large, sudden and dangerous glacial cracks called crevasses opening across the recovery area. Work typically starts in early to mid-June and is wrapped up for the year by early July. In this roughly one-month window, painstaking work is undertaken by a small crew assembled from within Alaska military organizations. They carefully hack at the glacier with ice picks and comb it with trowels, often on their knees, looking for the tiniest pieces of debris. They have found such things as uniforms, dog tags, wallets, lighters, three gold wedding rings and bone fragments sometimes as small as a fingernail. The last decade of searching has paid off as now 45 of the 52 service members aboard that C-124 have been identified. The task force says that as long as remains and artifacts are still being found and as long as the search is safe, the mission on Colony Glacier will continue until all 52 are lost no more.
[Spectacular close-up Video of Colony Glacier and Inner Lake George].
Meteorologist Paul Dorian
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