Cascade Mts., WA Chartered Transport Plane Crashes, Apr 1953
PLUCKY WOMAN SETS TRAIL TO DOWNED PLANE.
Seattle (AP) -- Rescuers followed a trail of blood left in deep snow by a plucky stewardess Tuesday and brought out 19 airline crash survivors out of the wild Cascade Mountains.
Six others were killed in the crash.
The bodies of the six dead were brought from the mountainside during the night, after the rescue of the living had been completed.
The DC-3 plane, chartered by soldiers to fly 22 servicemen from Scranton, Pa., and Washington, D. C., to Seattle, plunged into thick woods after one of its two engines failed and ice formed on its wings.
Arduous, day-long rescue work began after the stewardess, MRS. ADRA LONG of Berkeley, Calif., was spotted hobbling down the mountainside.
Her winding foot-prints were splotched with blood.
She had struggled six miles from the crash despite a long gash in her leg and severe chest injuries.
She told rescuers she regained consciousness after the crash "still sitting in my chair. I had been thrown clear of the plane."
This was at approximately 2:30 a.m. The position: 40 miles southeast of Seattle at the 3,000-foot level. Snow was five feet deep.
"I couldn't stand it up there," she said. "I had to see if I couldn't get out and get some help. One of those boys up there had one of his legs almost torn off. He was suffering terribly."
Trees Broke Fall.
The death toll was not higher because trees broke the plane's fall. Wings were torn from the craft. The fuselage broke in two, the forward section badly smashed and the rear half virtually intact.
The pilot, co-pilot and four servicemen were fatally injured.
The only other survivor to walk out was Pvt. ODELL MATTHEWS of Washington, D. C. All the others were carried to a tiny helicopter landing spot less than a mile from the wreckage and to trucks which followed bulldozers up the mountain to within a quarter mile of the cold and pain-wracked survivors.
One of the survivors who spent the day awaiting rescue was Pvt. HOWARD WORMUTH, 21, Carbondale, Pa., who said the plane had had engine trouble out of Chicago and had to return there for servicing.
Later, he said "it seemed to me that the engine was missing. All night long. I didn't think we were going to make it. Alot of the other boys felt the same way. We were only on one engine when the plane crashed. First thing I knew I was thrown out on the snow."
"After the stewardess and MATTHEWS left to find help the rest of us tried the best we could to make the seriously injured comfortable. If was bitter cold. My feet were frostbitten."
"We shouted to one another, trying to find out who was alive."
"This rescue operation was a darn good job. When they carried me out by stretcher from the wreckage to the truck, the going was really hazardous."
"I never saw such a steep mountain in all my life."
Rescuers followed MRS. LONG'S trail of blood through the snow to come upon what Capt. WALLACE M. BAKER of the Civil Air Patrol said was a sight of "complete and utter destruction. We couldn't believe that anyone had lived through it."
He said paramedics who had parachuted in to the scene and civilian loggers who had already started the slow process of getting the injured out of the plane.
"They were taking them down the hill on stretchers to where the Coast Guard and Navy helicopters could fly them out."
"The plane's wings were torn approximately 150 feet back from the fuselage. The nose and cockpit were completely demolished and either the pilot or co-pilot was still at the controls -- dead."
"The other member of the crew had been thrown about 20 feet and he was lying dead in a shallow ditch, his face torn and bloody against the snow."
"The survivors were huddled dazed and in terrible pain about the wreck. Some of them were screaming as the rescue squad attempted to give them first aid. It was a nightmare of pain and blood in five feet of snow."
Walla-Walla Union Bulletin Washington 1953-04-15