Selleck, WA Airplane Crash, Jun 1934

Seven in Airship Hitting Mountain Rescued by Pilot

Fights Way Through Timber, Darkness and Rain to Reach Logging Telephone Line.

Seattle, June 8 (AP).-Seven person were rescued today from the wreckage of an airliner that pancaked onto a mountainside near Selleck, Wash., accounting for all nine men and women who figured in the crash. Four of them were injured.

The story of the rescue of the seven person remaining at the scene-two others having left in search of help-was told over a private telephone line operated by a logging company in the rugged district.

Miss Daisy A. Mooney, Winthrop, Wash., school teacher, who had been reported lost in the forest following the crash, was found with the others, the telephone advices said.

The others were Pilot Ben Redfield, Spokane, with an arm seriously injured; Stewardess Marian Bennett, Salt Lake City; Miss Helen Curran, Seattle, whole leg was hurt; Robert Clark, Wenatchee, Wash., who was injured; Miss Mercedes Boyd, Winthrop school teacher traveling with Miss Mooney, and Mrs. G. Johannesen.

The United Air lines plane crashed while battling a fog last night.

Co-pilot Dwight Hansen, Spokane, fought his way through the timber to bring help, though he also was hurt. P.C. Beezley, Seattle businessman, came out early today, in the belief that Hansen had been unable to reach Selleck. Both used compasses taken from the plane to orient themselves in the forest.

It was necessary for the rescue party to carry the injured for several miles over rough country to a broken-down logging railroad liner, where a speeder was used to take them the Selleck.

The injured Hansen, in a Seattle hospital, said he came through the trees, darkness, swollen creeks and rain to reach the logging telephone line.

“Hell, I’m no hero,” he commented.

Nels Krogh, dispatcher for the Pacific States Logging Company railroad system, heard Hansen’s call at the campsite 20 miles from Selleck, about 7 p.m., Thursday. It was faint and vague, but Krogh took a crew of men and hurried down the line through the rain, visiting every station until he found Hansen. Then the search began.

Foul weather and the heavy timber combined to balk an airplane search and made search by foot very slow.

At the scene of the wreck, with rain pounding down and their flight dismal, the stewardess gave first aid to the injured. A lean-to was built beside the shattered, wingless plane for Pilot Redfield. The surveyors said a was a grim, grim night.

In the morning, Beezley, feeling Hansen had failed to find help, took another compass and set out. He was under the impression, he said, that Miss Mooney had disappeared into the forest. He reached Selleck and told this story.

“I was sitting in the last seat in the plane,” he said. “I thought we were over Seattle when the stewardess told us to fasten our life belts. We slowed down. We bumped, like a hard bounce on the ground. Then we hit again.

“The plane settled back on her tail, with the nose and engine high in the air. Our wings were cut off. The whole front was torn off. Hansen climbed out. He was cool, nervy. Blood was streaming down his face. He pried open the door to let the passengers out. They were quiet, kind of stunned. The pilot was up on an engine, 10 feet in the air. He seemed badly hurt. Hansen got him down. We fixed a shelter for Redfield. It was dark but we couldn’t light a fire for fear of explosion. It was raining. The stewardess gave out emergency rations.

“At daylight I started out alone, afraid Hansen had not been able to make it.”

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA 9 Jun 1934



I am Eric Hansen, Son of Dwight Hansen. This is additional interesting information about the crash.

Dwight was very badly hurt with metal and glass embedded in his body everywhere. He had a major cut over his left eye and the cut skin covered the eye. Dwight thought that he had lost his eye and would not be able to fly commercially again. After many hours of trying to find help, he was ready to give up and lay down and die. Suddenly, a twig lifted the flap of skin off his eye and he could see. This encouraged him to continue on and he found the help.

In this whole process, he lost his brass pocket United Airlines supplied compass. It has a hinged cover like an old pocket watch and was in a leather case. In the 1950's a contractor building new houses in the area found the compass. It took him a long time but he finally located my Dad and sent the compass to him. I still have the compass and it works fine.

Dwight lived to 95 and flew into his 80's. After retiring, he became a flight instructor training primary and commercial pilots. He truly was an amazing man!

Eric Hansen