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Mystery Cache

The U2 Incident

A cache by PAgirlinTX (adopted from Sky Rookie) Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 1/28/2006
In Texas, United States
3 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:



The U2 Incident of 1960 occurred when an American U2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. The United States government denied the true purpose of the plane, but was forced into an admission when the USSR produced the living pilot -- and the largely intact plane -- to corroborate their claim of being spied on aerially. The incident worsened East-West relations during the Cold War and represented a great embarrassment for the United States.

On May 1, 1960 (fifteen days before the scheduled opening of an East-West summit conference in Paris), a U.S. Lockheed U2 spy plane, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, left Peshawar, Pakistan. Powers intended to overfly the Soviet Union and land at Bodø, Norway. The mission: photographing ICBM development sites in and around Sverdlovsk and Plesetsk in the Soviet Union. Attempts to intercept the plane by Soviet fighters failed due to the U2's extreme altitude. Eventually, however, one of fourteen SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missiles launched at the plane managed to get close enough. According to Soviet defector Viktor Belenko, a Soviet fighter pursuing Powers was caught and destroyed in the missile salvo. Powers' aircraft was badly damaged, and crashed near Sverdlovsk, deep inside Soviet territory. Soviet soldiers captured Powers after he made a parachute landing.

Four days after Powers disappeared, NASA issued a very detailed press release noting that an aircraft had "gone missing" north of Turkey. The press release speculated that the pilot might have fallen unconscious while the autopilot was still engaged, even claiming that "the pilot reported over the emergency frequency that he was experiencing oxygen difficulties." To bolster this, a U2 plane was quickly painted in NASA colors and shown to the media.

After hearing this, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev announced to the Supreme Soviet (and hence the world) that a "spyplane" had been shot down, whereupon the U.S. issued a statement claiming that it was a "weather research aircraft" which strayed into Soviet airspace after the pilot had "difficulties with his oxygen equipment" while flying over Turkey. The White House, presuming Powers was dead, gracefully acknowledged that this might be the same plane, but still proclaimed "there was absolutely no deliberate attempt to violate Soviet airspace and never has been", and attempted to continue the facade by grounding all U2 aircraft to check for "oxygen problems".

On May 7, Khrushchev dropped the bombshell:

I must tell you a secret. When I made my first report I deliberately did not say that the pilot was alive and well... and now just look how many silly things [the Americans] have said.

Not only was Powers still alive, but his plane was essentially intact. The Soviets managed to recover the surveillance camera and even developed the photographs. Powers' survival pack, including 7500 roubles and jewelry for women, was also recovered.

The Paris Summit between Dwight Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev collapsed, in large part because Eisenhower refused to bring apologies over the incident, demanded by Khrushchev. Khrushchev left the talks on May 16.

The Soviet government convicted Powers of espionage on August 19, and sentenced to him to three years imprisonment and seven years of hard labor. Powers, however, served only fifteen months before being exchanged for Colonel Ivanovich Abel on February 10, 1962. The exchange occurred on the Glienicke Bridge in Potsdam, Germany.


Retain the degrees and minutes of the coordinates listed above. Use the following images to determine the decimal minutes portion of the latitude and longitude:

If your coordinates have been calculated correctly, you should find yourself less than one hundred yards from Cypress Creek. You'll be looking for a clear BioKips SnapWare container holding a logbook, a pen, and a few trade items. Happy vapor trails!

Click to verify coordinates

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Pbirerq jvgu yrnirf naq oenapurf.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



45 Logged Visits

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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 1/27/2015 11:41:17 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (7:41 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum