Story of Pilot Who Survived in Alaska's Frozen Wilderness

Jan 4, 2018


Shortly before Christmas in 1943, five Army aviators left Alaska’s Ladd Field on a routine flight to test their hastily retrofitted B-24 Liberator in harsh winter conditions. The mission ended in a crash that claimed all but one: Leon Crane, a city kid from Philadelphia with no wilderness experience. With little more than a parachute for cover and an old Boy Scout knife in his pocket, Crane found himself alone in subzero temperatures. He knew, as did the crews who searched unsuccessfully for the crash site, that his chance of survival dropped with each passing day. But Crane did find a way to stay alive in the grip of the Yukon winter for nearly twelve weeks and, amazingly, walked out of the ordeal intact. The book 81 Days Below Zero recounts Crane’s remarkable saga.  Author and journalist Brian Murphy joins Mindy Todd for this interview on The Point.