Charleston Peak, NV Air Force Plane Crashes On Mountain, Nov 1955


Las Vegas, Nev. (AP) -- A reconnaissance pilot reported Friday "no sign of life" on a snowy mountain peak where an Air Force transport plane with 14 persons aboard crashed Thursday enroute to the Nevada atomic bombing range.
Maj. J. E. MANCH, operations officer at Nellis Air Force Base, flew over Charleston Peak as clouds lifted Friday morning. He reported wreckage at about the 9,000-foot level. He the four-engine C54 been 300 feet higher it would have topped a ridge and been in the clear.
MANCH said it appeared the transport pilot had seen the cliff, attempted to gain altitude to clear it but failed and the plane hit the mountain. Snow was melted away from the wreckage.
Slope Is Steep.
The slope is so steep that a gound party, reported three to four miles away from the crash, was not expected to reach it for 15 to 24 hours.
During atomic bomb tests, the Charleston Mountains often provided points of vantage for members of the press witnessing the tests.
An arctic rescue team from March Air Force Base, Calif., climbed through the snow toward the wreckage. The team included two medical specialists.
The rugged range in the high plateau country was whipped by high winds and intermittent snows.
The wreckage sighted by search planes through a rift in the clouds yesterday, lay on a high slope next to 11,910-foot Mt. Charleston, 27 miles northwest of here.
The aircraft had been due at Groom Dry Lake, 60 miles north of the AEC's Camp Mercury, after leaving Burbank, Calif., 225 miles southwest of here.
Air Force headquarters in Washington, D. C., said the aircraft, believed to be a C54, carried Air Force personnel and "some civilian consultants." It was not disclosed how many of each. The mission was described as "routine."
No Atomic Scientists Aboard.
An AEC spokesman in Albuquerque, N. M., said the AEC had no embargo on information about the crash and had no special interest inn it, indicating that no atomic scientists were aboard.
A Nellils spokesman said the transport took off from Burbank shortly after 8 a. m. yesterday and routine radio contact was made with Nellis some time after 9 a.m. That was the last heard from the plane. An unidentifed airman at the Nellis rest camp on Mt. Charleston reported hearing a crash about 10.

Daily Chronicle Centralia Washington 1955-11-18

(Addition Article from 1955-11-19)
The pilot and copilot of the plane, 1st Lt. GEORGE F. PAPPAS and 2nd Lt. PAUL E. WINHAM, both were from San Antonio, Tex., as was S. Sgt. CLAYTON FARRIS.
Other airmen were S. Sgt. JOHN H. GAILES, Ripley, Tenn., and Airman 2.C GUY R. FAFOLAS, Nephi, Utah.
Civilian employes of the Air Force aboard were H. F. BRAY, Houtson, Tex., J. W. BROWN, Savannah, Ga., WILLIAM MARR, Hattisville, Md., TERRANCE O'DONNELL, New York City, and EDWIN J. UROLATIS, Brockton, Mass.
FREDERICK F. HANKS, Pasadena, Calif., and HAROLD G. SILENT, Los Angeles, were listed as Air Force consultants, and RICHARD HRUDA and RODNEY H. KREIMENDAHL, both of Lockheed Aircraft Corp., Burbannk, Calif., were technicians.
Several old plane wrecks dot the Charleston Mountains. It was into this range in 1942 that a plane carrying actress CAROLE LOMBARD, wife of CLARK GABLE, crashed with no survivors.
The Charleston Mountains have been used in the past by newsmen as vantage points from which to watch atom bomb test explosions.

Other Crashes in or near Mt. Potosi