Pegasus Wreck – Antarctica - Atlas Obscura

Pegasus Wreck

The remains of a doomed Antarctic plane, buried beneath layers of ice and snow, await those willing to do a bit of digging. 


On October 8, 1970, the pilots of the Pegasus, a C-121 Lockheed Constellation plane, knew they had a problem. A fierce storm was ravaging the air above Antarctica. But they were forced to fly onward, a lack of fuel making it impossible for them to boomerang back to New Zealand.

A slurry of snow and ice whipped through the air, erasing any and all visibility. The wind caused the aircraft to thrash around and beat the plane so hard it ripped off pieces of its exterior. Soon, the Pegasus was dropping toward the frozen desert below. It crashed atop the ground and skid along the ice before finally drawing to a halt.

Miraculously, the 80 people aboard the plane survived the crash with no major injuries. They were all rescued and able to carry on with their Antarctic research largely unharmed, though likely a bit rattled.

Now, anyone who happens to find themselves near the McMurdo Station can try to take a trip to the crash site. The Pegasus is still there, resting beneath a blanket of snow. Most of the plane is usually covered by layers of ice and snow, though people do like to unbury it to take photographs or carve their names onto its exterior.

The crash even inspired researchers to rename the ice runway and airfield after the wrecked aircraft. However, Pegasus Field closed in December of 2014 because of excess summer melt.

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