Halfmoon Bay, CA Navy Bomber Crash, June 1942



San Francisco, June 3 (INS) -- An ensign who alone survived the crash of a navy patrol bomber in the hills 30 miles south of San Francisco with a toll of seven lives, was able to shed no light today on how the accident occurred.
He is Ensign G. H. APITZ of Henderson, Minn., who despite severe injuries struggled through thick underbrush for six hours to reach a telephone and inform his base of the tragedy. Among the victims was RONALD E. McCLEAN, aerographer, Lynn, Mass.
A ground search crew found the wreckage of the bomber where it had struck and partially burned on a hillside near Halfmoon Bay on the San Francisco peninsula. The crash occurred while the plane was on a routine flight.
Ensign APITZ could give no reason for the crash.
"It just happened," he said.
(Later Information)
Twelfth naval district headquarters today continued its investigation of the crash of a PBY Catalina flying boat that carried seven men to death on the rugged San Mateo county coastside Monday night.
The navy hoped to remove the last remnants of the huge bomber today and awaited improvement in the condition of the lone survivor, Ensign GUSTAV H. APITZ, 22, of Henderson, Minn., in order to throw light on the cause of the crash.
APITZ, who struggled for six hours through shoulder-high chaparral brush and along a dirt road little better than a wagon trail, was reported in fair condition at Mills Memorial Hospital today.
He is suffering from severe burns about the face, left arm and both hands, severe shock, cuts and lacerations about the body. His lips were so burned he found difficulty in talking with naval intelligence officers late yesterday.
The dead were:
WILLIS WAYNE CAMPBELL, ensign, USNR, son of Brent W. Campbell, Portland, Ore. He was pilot of the ill-fated ship.
CARL ELMER SEIDELMAN, aviation machinist's mate first class, USN, wife, Mrs. Irene Seidelman, San Diego.
WILLIAM HART STUTE, aviation pilot, second class, mother, Mrs. Eloise J. Stute, San Clemente.
KENNETH WAYNE SIMMONS, seaman first class, mother Mrs. W. O. Simmons, Pasco, Wash.
RONALD EDWARD McLEAN, aerographer third class, mother, Mrs. Della McLean, Lynn, Mass.

Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1942-06-03