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'SKYMASTER DOWN' WAS FILMED
IN THE YUKON IN THE SUMMER OF 2020.
RELEASED IN 2021.
ONE LOST AIRPLANE - 44 MISSING PEOPLE - AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY
A Douglas C-54 Skymaster plane was bound for Montana carrying 44 crew and passengers from Anchorage, Alaska, when it disappeared over Canada. On January, 26,1950, Robert Espe, a master seargant in the U.S. Air Force, waved goodbye to his wife Joyce and two-year-old son Victor on a remote air field outside Anchorage, Alaska. It was a snowy day, a month out from the winter solstice. The sun rose not long before 10 a.m. and by 5 p.m. everything was black again.
Joyce Espe was seven months pregnant at the time. A native of Hapur, India, she was struggling with the Alaskan winter. Along with her son and 42 others, all U.S. servicemen, she was flying from the military base in Anchorage, south over the Yukon, to Great Falls, Montana, on leave. From there she planned to go to Rifle, Colorado, where she had close friends, to give birth to her second child.
The Douglas C-54D Skymaster the Espes boarded was a World War II-era transport carrier based out of El Paso, Texas. It was a big, snub-nosed metal hotdog of a plane with an eight-person crew and room for 50 passengers. Everyone on board that day was fitted with a parachute. Joyce and Victor sat next to Sgt. Roy Jones, a friend from the base at the end of his service who was flying home to be discharged. “My last words to Joycie were: ‘If you have to jump give the baby to (Roy),” Robert Espe later told a reporter.
About two hours after take off, the Skymaster’s radio operator checked in over Snag, a tiny goldrush settlement on the Yukon’s White River. The air route from Anchorage to Montana was notoriously rough. There were radio checkpoints every half-hour along the way, meant to keep pilots on track and out of the mountains. That check in was the last anyone ever heard from the Skymaster. Somewhere after Snag, it disappeared. No trace of it has ever been found.
Funding for 'Skymaster Down': documentary channel, Canada Media Fund, Rogers Cable Network Fund, Ontario Creates, Yukon Film Incentive Programs, Rogers Telefund, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (OFTTC)
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