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 #41-24708
Found 01 Nov 2011

by

C-46A #41-24708

This aircraft departed Mohanbari, India at 0423 GMT on 31 Jan 1944 for Kunming, China on a routine cargo flight over the Hump.

The route was overcast with cloud tops above 24,000 ft.  Winds were out of the SW and estimated to be 70 mph at 18,000 ft.  About 50% of the flight would have been flown on instruments and was further complicated by high winds.

There is no record of radio contact from the aircraft.  The last known position, cause or nature of the aircraft loss is not known.  It is believed the crash may have been caused by bad weather, mechanical failure or a sudden catastrophic event.  The cause of the crash was probably so sudden and so severe that the pilot didn’t have time to radio a mayday call.  The pilot had made 35 roundtrips on this route.  The aircraft has not been found and the crew has been declared dead.  Dead: 4.

  • Pilot: Capt. Alvin Catalano
  • Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Robert F. Kearns
  • Radio Operator: Pfc. John W. Briggette
  • Flight Engineer: Cpl. John W. Sadler

View the Crashed Aircraft Site Report for C-46A #41-24708


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Important Notice:​ These MIA expeditions are mostly self-funded by Clayton Kuhles.  No funding assistance 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.  EIN: 45-3174718.  Funding donations to MIA Recoveries, Inc are deductible under section 170 of the Code.