Life is full of surprises, they say, and in many cases, it turns out to be true. Such is the case for one YouTube hiker who had gone on a hunt for a rare limestone endemic plant in Death Valley in California.
The man was focused on looking for his plants, so you can imagine his surprise when he landed on the wreckage of an old plane.
"On a hike looking for rare limestone endemic plants in Death Valley, we spotted the wreckage of a plane! After several hours of hiking and many interesting plants, we managed to scramble over to the wreck. Turns out the plane has been there for 68 years!" wrote YouTuber Sheriff Woody.
"In January 1952 this SA-16 Albatross was flying from Idaho to San Diego supporting classified CIA Cold War operations when its left engine caught fire over Death Valley, California and the plane began losing altitude and velocity. The pilot gave the order to evacuate the plane, and all six people on board jumped out the back door! They parachuted and safely landed 14 miles north of Furnace Creek, which they then hiked to. The abandoned plane then smashed into the steep limestone hillside in the Panamint Mountains. It was a great day of botanizing with an awesome unexpected thrill!"
In the video, Woody further explains how the crew were on a classified mission and were therefore picked up by Air Force the next day. They even sent a crew to handle all sensitive material. Unfortunately, the plane was in a location too remote to be recovered from, so it was left there.
The video included below takes us through the wreckage, and you can tell why no attempts were made to ever salvage the plane. It is sadly wrecked beyond recognition. It did, however, make for a nice hiking surprise!