Historical Note: The text within this post is an excerpt from the original Army Air Corps or USAAF accident report that was filed shortly after the aircraft disappeared.  These archival reports were typically the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) or Report of Major Accident.  The reports frequently stated the crash site was believed to be “unrecoverable” or “all but impossible to recover”, due to the very remote and rugged terrain where the aircraft crashed.  Employing the services of local tribal guides, I was able to reach and document this crash site.  Without exception, all the sites were very difficult to reach, often involving many days of trekking from the nearest road and multiple river crossings.

C-46A #42-96721
Recovered Nov 2023


Investigator’s Note:  I initially reached and identified this crash site on 19 Dec 2021.  Family members of the personnel aboard this aircraft contacted me in early 2022 and asked me to lead a recovery mission to the crash site and try to recover remains and personal artifacts of the men.  This would mean recruiting a much larger team and remaining on site long enough to do a methodical, 100% excavation of the crash site.  The family members were already aware that the US Dept of Defense had earlier canceled all further MIA recovery missions in the former China-Burma-India theater of WWII and declined to send a team to recover this crash site, citing various reasons.  Most often cited by them was the “political instability” present in the area.  Armed insurgent organizations from Burma and India often harbor in the jungles on the India side of the India-Burma border, throughout the Dihing River Valley.  The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has been waging an armed insurrection in northern Burma since the 1940’s, and they use these border jungles as a safe haven when being pursued by the Burmese Army.  A budget for the recovery mission was funded and the mission was launched on 05 Nov 2023.

This aircraft was assigned to the 1333rd AAF Base Unit and was based at Chabua, India.  On 06 Jan 1945, it was on a routine flight from Chabua, India to Kunming, China to deliver cargo.  After unloading its cargo and boarding passengers, the aircraft departed Kunming at 0937Z.  It was given instrument clearance on Charlie course back to Chabua.  On board was a crew of 4 and 9 passengers.

The weather was very bad, with areas of severe turbulence, violent updrafts and cross winds and moderate to severe icing along the entire route.  Rough weather prevailed from 15,000 ft to 38,000 ft with thunderstorms and heavy overcast.  Cloud tops were at 23,000 ft.

At 1420Z, queries on the whereabouts of this aircraft were sent to all aircraft, ground stations and airbases that could have had any information regarding the ship.  As all queries were returned with a negative answer and the tower at Kunming had the last known radio contact with the ship, the aircraft was declared missing in flight.  This aircraft was never heard from again.  It simply disappeared somewhere on the Hump.  The plane’s nickname was Stork.  Dead: 13.

Pilot: 2nd Lt. Sydney L. Murphy
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Delmar K. Brown
Radio Operator: Cpl. Alvin P. Palecek
Flight Clerk: Pfc. Edmund T. Murphy
Passenger: 1st Lt. William K. Scherer
Passenger: 2nd Lt. Carl D. Moyes
Passenger: T/4 Lee R. Casey
Passenger: T/4 Pryor D. Collings
Passenger: T/4 O.G. Dishman
Passenger: T/4 Robert F. Sherman
Passenger: Sgt. Raymond F. Brunner
Passenger: Sgt. J.V. Dolton
Passenger: Sgt. Kenneth Hart

View the Crashed Aircraft Recovery Report (PDF)

View the Crashed Aircraft Site Report (PDF)

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Important Notice: If you believe this is a worthwhile humanitarian project that needs to be pursued, then please visit the Funding page on this website to see how easy it is to support this project in a meaningful manner.  MIA Recoveries, Inc is a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Click here to donate.

Important Notice:​ These MIA missions are mostly self-funded by Clayton Kuhles.  No funding support is received from the US government.  If you believe this is a worthwhile humanitarian project that needs to be pursued, then please visit the Funding page on this website to see how easy it is to support this project in a meaningful manner.  MIA Recoveries, Inc is a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Funding donations to MIA Recoveries, Inc are deductible under Section 170 of the Code.  EIN: 45-3174718