Anchorage, AK (near) Two Plane Crashes Same Area, Apr 1956
2 ALASKA PLANES LOST; EIGHT PERSONS MISSING.
CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, PROMINENT PILOT, VANISHES NEAR CORDOVA.
Rescue Squadron Planes Searching for Cordova Airlines Plane Which Hasn't Been Heard From Since Early Yesterday.
Eight persons are missing aboard two separate aircraft which vanished on flights in South Central Alaska during the past 24 hours.
First plane to vanish was a Cordova Airlines aircraft with a pilot and five passengers aboard which was reported missing late yesterday on a journey from Anchorage to Seward. The aircraft took off from Anchorage yesterday morning on a routine 100 mile flight. It was never heard from again.
The airline identified those aboard as:
JOHN WADE, Anchorage, Pilot.
RAYMOND GILLIS, an employe of the Seward electrical system and a native of San Haven, North Dakota.
BRUCE ROBERTSON, a salesman for Myer Bros., a Seattle jewelry firm.
B. J. IAMS and D. SAYRE, both employed by the S. S. Contractors of Tacoma.
The sixth person is military and both the airline and military authorities have refused to identify him.
Early today, HAKON (CHRIS) CHRISTENSEN, one of Alaska's most prominent pilots, and WELLS ERVIN, well known Anchorage businessman and political figure, were reported missing on a flight from Yakutat to Cordova. The two men were aboard a Grumman Super Widgeon amphibian plane which CHRISTENSEN was ferrying from Seattle to Alaska.
CHRISTENSEN, who formerly operated the CHRISTENSEN Air Service between Seward and Anchorage, is a veteran Alaska pilot. Hope was expressed he managed to land on the water when he saw the approach of bad weather.
CHRISTENSEN and ERVIN are associated in the Alaska Sales and Service, a General Motors dealership in Anchorage.
Planes from the 10th Rescue Unit at Elmendorf Air Force Base were searching today for both missing aircraft.
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Alaska 1956-04-10
7 DIE IN TWO AIR TRAGEDIES
WELLS ERVIN ONLY SURVIVOR OF TWO SEPARATE DISASTERS
Shattered Remains of Two Aircraft Found; Six Had Perished in One Wreck; One of Two Survived Second.
Anchorage, April 11, (AP) -- Two airplanes which crashed 200 miles apart Monday in rugged Central Alaska coastal highlands carried seven men to their death and seriously injured an eighth.
The smashed remains of the two twin-engined aircraft were found about the same time late yesterday by search planes which had fanned out over a large part of the area south, west and southeast of here when neither reported in on schedule.
A bush pilot first found a Cordova Airlines plane broken to bits at the 3,000 foot level in mountain country 75 miles southwest of here on the Kenai peninsula. A rescue crew later reported "no survivors."
The airline plane met its fate while on a dog-legged 100-mile flight from Anchorage to Seward. Its six occupants included an unidentified military passenger, RAYMOND GILLIS, of Seward and formerly from San Haven, N. D.; BRUCE ROBERTSON, Seattle; B. J. JAMES, Milton, Wash.; DOUGLAS SAYRE, Juneau, Alaska, and the pilot, JOHN WADE, Anchorage.
They never were heard from after leaving Anchorage.
The other broken plane, an amphibious Grumman, yielded the body of HAKON CHRISTENSEN, pilot and operator of an Anchorage airlines. Trapped in tangled metal and fabric was WELLS ERVIN, Anchorage businessman. They were found five miles south of Cordova, where they were scheduled to stop on a flight from Yakutat, 200 miles south.
CHRISTENSEN and ERVIN had started their ill-fated flight from Seattle early Monday leaving Yakutat later that day.
A doctor from Cordova traveled by snowshoes to the site of the wreckage. Then, the doctor and a party carried WELLS ERVIN to a boat and took him to the Cordova hospital.
He was reported to be in "fairly good" condition today. His most serious injury was a compound fracture of his left leg below the knee. He was also suffering from shock.
"He's in good condition considering the ordeal he went through," the doctor reported to have said.
ERVIN was trapped in the wreckage almost 12 hours. The pilot, CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, was killed instantly by the impact of the crash which took place in bad weather.
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Alaska 1956-04-11
ERVIN DIES IN HOSPITAL.
Anchorage, April 12 (AP) -- E. WELLS ERVIN, Anchorage businessman, died yesterday of injuries received in an airplane crash near Cordova Monday afternoon.
ERVIN arrived at a Cordova hospital at 5 a.m. after a doctor had to travel on snowshoes to reach the plane wreckage southeast of Cordova. First reports from the hospital said his condition was not critical and that he had suffered only a compound fracture of the left leg and shock.
HAAKON CHRISTENSEN, the pilot of the plane in which ERVIN crashed, was killed outright. The 53-year-old air service operator and ERVIN, one of Alaska's bestknown businessmen, were on a Seattle-Anchorage flight when their twin-engined Grumman amphibian cracked up.
ERVIN'S death brought the two-day Alaska air toll to eight. Six other persons died Monday when a Cordova Airlines plane ploughed into mountainous terrain on the Kenai peninsula while on an Anchorage-Seward trip.
The airliner wreckage was found late yesterday.
The army said last night Sgt. JOE B. HEDICK of Monterey, Calif., and Sulphur Springs, Texas, was the sixth man killed in the crash of a Cordova Airlines plane southwest of here Monday.
All the others had previously been identified but the army had refused to disclose HEDICK'S name, contending it couldn't because he was a passenger on a private airplane. Military sources in Washington have said there was no restriction on names involving civilian carriers.
Sgt. HEDICK'S widow, CHARLENE, survives at Monterey; his mother, MRS. BERTHA HEDICK, at Sulphur Springs.
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Alaska 1956-04-12