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Birth of Swiss rescue service Glacier crash drama captivated the world

On November 19, 1946 an American military plane with 12 passengers on board strayed off course on a flight from Vienna to Marseille and crash landed in on the Gauli glacier in the Swiss Alps. Nearby Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland was the scene of the largest alpine rescue operation ever seen at that time.

All 12 passengers, including high-ranking officers and three women, survived the crash and were saved in a spectacular operation. Swiss mountain guides, alpine troops, and two pilots all played their parts, and the rescue improved the strained political relations between Switzerland and the United States in the post-war era. The event, followed worldwide, was also the beginning of the Swiss Air Rescue Service. (Pictures: Keystone/Photopress, RDB, Swiss Air Force, Federal Archive)