A World War II plane that crash landed in Switzerland has been uncovered after 72 years thanks to the recent heatwave.

The American C-53 Skytrooper, a military transport plane also known as a Dakota, was flying from Tulln in Austria to the Italian city of Pisa on November 18 1946 when a snowstorm forced the pilots to crash land onto the Gauli Glacier in the Bernese Alps at a speed of around 280km/h.

It is thought that rough weather had led the pilots to take a detour and fly via Munich, Strasbourg and Marseille, rather than cross the Alps, the Daily Telegraph reports.

All those on board, which included eight passengers and four crew members, were rescued five days after the crash by Swiss ski soldiers, after they were alerted to the accident by an emergency radio message.

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However the plane itself has remained hidden in the glacier, buried under deep layers of snow and ice, until now.

Unusually warm weather in Switzerland has meant experts have for the first time been able to uncover large parts of the aircraft.

Among the debris are objects such as wings and propellers, as well as items found inside, such as tin cans, hangers and spoons.

Adriano Boschetti, an archaeologist who works for the Canton of Bern, said that Americans have already shown a large amount of interest in the historic objects.

A local owner of a nearby mountain hut has been asked to keep watch and make sure parts of the plane are not destroyed or stolen.

"The wreck is a great folk tale," the owner said. "We have many visitors coming to us solely for the sake of the Dakota."


Temperatures have risen to over 35C in parts of Switzerland in recent months, as the country has experienced one of the hottest and driest summers since records began in 1864.

Temperatures have soared across Europe this northern summer, with other unusual side effects. Zoos in France have been forced to give gorillas banana ice cubes.

In Italy, cows have been producing 15 per cent less milk to due to the dry grass.

While in Germany, gherkin farmers have struggled to reap crops.

Swiss scientists have warned that many glaciers will have disappeared from the Alps by 2050.

The Aletsch Glacier, which is the biggest in the Alps, will almost disappear by the end of the century, they warn.