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Crashed aircraft remains found in Tierra del Fuego 59 years later

Tuesday, March 24th 2009 - 08:07 UTC
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Relatives from the lost crew of the Argentine Air Force British built Avro Lincoln MK II which crashed in Chilean Tierra del Fuego in 1950, and were only found recently are requesting Presidents Michelle Bachelet and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to authorize the repatriation of the remains.

The former World War II British bomber and its eleven crew members were on a flight from Rio Gallegos to Ushuaia when on March 22nd all contact was lost and the remains were never found. Two other similar aircrafts which flew on the same mission returned to Rio Gallegos.

Apparently in 1983 mountaineers from the University of Magallanes detected some remains in a glacier from the Darwin mountain range some 200 kilometres from the destination of the Avro B0-019.

But it was not until 59 years later that the mystery of the flight was solved when a tourist expedition led by the Chilean guide Rodrigo Fuentes Milostich reported pieces of an aircraft such as a propeller and landing gear, as well as human bone remains.

The aircraft was under the command of pilot Bautista Faustino Mendioroz, and the debris of the crashed bomber spread over an area of 300 metres.

The only son of pilot Mendioroz, Elvio, now 62, said he would be requesting the two presidents the repatriation of the remains of his father whom he only remembers as a very small child.

“This is very sensitive news for us, 59 years have gone by. We never expected the remains to be found. But I have requested the repatriation of the remains”, said Elvio who described what it meant growing up in Argentina without a military father.

“I grew up with out my father and with a contradictory image because when I was young the Armed Forces had lost the prestige and place of honour when my father lived” he recalled.

Mendioroz is a long established family in the Argentine Patagonian province of Rio Negro and one of the dead pilot’s nephews is currently Deputy governor of Rio Negro.

According to historians from the Chilean Air Force academy the Argentine B0-019 left Rio Gallegos together with two other similar aircrafts on March 22nd 1950 on a training flight. However bad weather conditions and very low temperatures ice coated the aircrafts forcing them to return to Rio Gallegos, but B0.019 never made it.

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