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Last Flight of Bomber 31

Program Overview


On March 25, 1944, seven Navy airmen took off from the Aleutian island of Attu in Bomber 31—and vanished. Fifty-five years later, the plane's wreckage was discovered in one of the most remote regions on Earth, Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. NOVA chronicles the effort to solve the mystery of Bomber 31's last flight.

The program:

  • shows the wreckage of Bomber 31 at the base of a volcano in the Russian Far East.

  • notes how clues in the damaged plane indicate the pilot was forced to land after encountering enemy fire.

  • introduces Attu, the westernmost Aleutian island, which was captured by the Japanese during World War II.

  • explores possible reasons for the plane's crash.

  • follows a forensic anthropologist as she looks for crewmembers' remains.

  • documents the experience of one crewmember's son as he comes to terms with his father's death.

  • shows how, through DNA analysis, the remains of some men may be identified.

  • suggests that the harsh environment and prevalence of bears in the crash area may have played a role in the disappearance of crewmembers' remains.

Teacher's Guide
Last Flight of Bomber 31
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