Mt. Sanford, AK Chartered Airliner Missing In Alaska, Mar 1948
SEARCH LAUNCHED FOR LOST PLANE IN ALASKA AREA.
THIRTY ABOARD CRAFT RETURNING FROM SHANGHAI.
Anchorage, Alaska, March 13. (AP) -- A chartered Northwest Airlines DC-4, returning seamen of a tanker's crew from Shanghai to the states, was missing today in the wilderness of interior Alaska or Canada's Yukon territory.
Thirty were aboard -- 24 passengers and a crew of six.
Search for the four-engined transport centered on 16,208-foot Mr. Sanford, about 200 miles northeast of Anchorage and slightly off the charted great circle route course.
The Gulkana civil aeronautics station, 50 miles from the peak, reported that witnesses told of seeing a fire flare up on the mountainside last night. A report from the Northway air field, near the Canadian border, said the fire was reported within half an hour after the plane flew over Gulkana station at 11,000 feet at 11:03 p. m. That was the time of the last radio contact.
A report from Northway said the plane was believed to be down between there and Gulkana. It said the fire was reported sighted on the south side of Mt. Sanford.
A CAA plane and helicopters from the army's 10th rescue squadron at Northway were searching the rugged area.
Visibility was good both last night and today. Northern lights were flashing across the clear northern sky at the time the plane disappeared.
Mount Sanford is off the regular course of the Orient flights, but is close to a short-cut route across the mountains.
The plane took off from Anchorage on the long wilderness leg of a flight to Edmonton, Alta., where it was due at 5:04 a. m. (PST).
Northwest Airlines identified crew members as: Capt. JAMES VAN CLEEF, Minneapolis; Capt. ROBERT PETRY, St. Paul; First Officer JEHU J. STICKEL, Minneapolis; Navigator WAYNE WORSLEY, St. Paul; Flight Mechanic DONALD RECTOR, St. Louis Park, Minn., and Purser ROBERT J. HASLETT, Seattle.
The airline reported the pasengers were seamen who had taken an oil tanker from New York to Shanghai. Northwest flies specially chartered planes over the Alaska-Orient route in addition to its regular passenger service. If the airline crashed, it is the first disaster to a Northwest plane since it started the chartered flights in January, 1947.
Reno Evening Gazette Nevada 1948-03-13
Addition by Stu Beitler July 2013
Listing of the Passengers killed in this accident:
WILFRED "BILLY" HENRY BESWICK, Old Trafford, Manchester, England.
EUGENE J. ADLER, Fall River, Mass.
MORRIS "MAX" BROOKS, Bronx, N.Y.
JOHN R. COMSHICK, West Hazleton, Penn.
HOWARD A. DAVIDSON, Bayonne, N.J.
ROBERT WILLIAM "BILLY" DELANEY, Keyport, N.J.
ARTHUR L. EILERTSEN, New York, N.Y.
JOHN V. ELKINS, Richmond, N.Y.
EUGENE O. FOOTE, Kaplan, Louisiana.
OLAN J. JACOBSEN, Brooklyn, N.Y.
JOHN "JACKIE" JOSEPH JAMELE, Brooklyn, N.Y.
EVERETT W. JENKINS, Brazil, Indiana.
AUGUST E. KOISTINEN, Toivola, Wisconsin.
JAMES G. LAMPMAN, Jersey City, N.J.
MICHAEL MARUSHAK, Sewaren, N.J.
TRAVIS M. McCall, Tifton, Georgia.
JAMES G. MOONEY, Paterson, N.J.
EDWIN MUSTRA, Plainfield, N.J.
ROBERT J. RABICH, Easton, Penn.
JOHN W. RAPCHINSKI, Bayonne, N.J.
DANIEL C. RICE, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
CARL F. SIGMUND, Poquonock Bridge, Conn.
FRANK J. VAN ZANDT, Roanoke, Virginia.
STANLEY C. WILKOWSKI, Bayonne, N.J.
CRASHED PLANE BURIED IN SNOW.
ALASKAN MISHAP FATAL TO THIRTY.
Anchorage, Alaska, March 15. (AP) -- Storms threatened today to bury the last trace of a crashed Northwest orient airlines DC-4 which carried 30 persons to their death high up on towering mount Sanford.
The forecast of bad weather increased the probability that the bodies of the 30 victims will remain entombed on the 16,208-foot peak. The four-engined airliner, en route from Shanghai to St. Paul crashed Friday night on a glacier of the mountain 190 miles northeast of here.
Aboard the chartered plane were a crew of six and 24 seamen flying from Shanghai to New York. They were crewmen of the tanker Sunset, of the Overseas Tankship Corp.
The worst disaster in Alaska's aviation history, it was also the airlines' first since it began far east service more than a year ago.
Several flights planned to determine the feasibility of sending ground parties to the scene were cancelled yesterday when clouds obscured the mountain. There was no indication of a let up in the weather today.
A Northwest airlines meteorologist said a storm front would reach the area early today bringing increased cloudiness and storm conditions. Similar weather probably would prevail for another 48 hours, he said.
Even after brief glimpses of the crash scene Saturday, authorities were generally agreed that the danger of slides probably would make it impossible to reach the wreckage.
The ill-fated plane, piloted by Capt. JAMES VAN CLEEF of Minneapolis, crashed into a horseshoe shaped pocket of the mountain less that half an hour after it passed over the Gulkana CAA range station, apparently on course and at 11,000 feet altitude.
The big ship tore into a sheer ice and rock cliff at the same elevation, then slid 2500 feet down the glacier. Only bits of the plane were visible at the bottom of a fire-blackened trail left by the blazing wreckage.
Whether efforts will be made to recover the victims will be decided after NWA officials and members of the air forces' 10th rescue squadron scan the mountainside.
Reno Evening Gazette Nevada 1948-03-15