Last Flight of Bomber 31

History Classics

A daring expedition braves the perilous slopes of Mt. Mutnovsky volcano in the Russian Far East to solve the WWII mystery of the final mission of Bomber 31.

March 25, 1944: the US Navy’s Bomber 31 and its seven-man crew leave Attu, Alaska on a secret mission to bomb Japan’s Kuril Islands. They never return. Parallax Film Productions joins a US POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), expedition to a truly unforgiving location – the slopes of the Mt. Mutnovsky volcano in the Russian Far East – to solve the mystery of Bomber 31’s final mission.

During World War II, an air battle between American and Japanese pilots plays out above the Bering Sea. Known as riders of the Empire Express, the American WWII PV1 bombers fly from the Aleutians to bomb Japanese targets in the Kuril Islands. This perilous run was 1,500 miles round trip – nine hours of flying – in subzero temperatures. And it claims many victims.

Bomber 31’s disappearance remains a mystery for 56 years before a Russian geologist reports a wreck of an American bomber. Last Flight of Bomber 31 follows the DPMO’s first Russian Far East mission – a hunt for bones, personal effects, and DNA that could finally reveal the fate of U.S. Navy pilot Walt S. Whitman, who made a forced landing with his crew on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. Many other Empire Express planes that landed in this region became Soviet POWs; could the crew of Bomber 31 have been among them? Did the KGB visit the wreckage and tamper with evidence?