Saugus, CA Airplane Crash, Dec 1935

12 Found Dead in Wreckage Of Plane Near Los Angeles.

9 Passengers, 3 Crew Members Die as Big Ship Crashes on Ridge in Wild Hill Country.


Searching Parties Need 5 Hours to Travel 18 Miles to Smashup Site.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. Dec. 29.(Tuesday) (UP).----A human chain of rescue workers dragged the broken bodies of five victims early Tuesday from the twisted wreck of a big transport plane in which twelve persons died when it crashed into a rocky gorge of Rice Canyon.

Seven other bodies were jammed so far in the cabin of the United Airlines ship that it may be morning before they are extricated.

The five bodies recovered were so torn as to be unrecognizable.

BURBANK. Calif. Dec. 29 (AP).---The twisted and crumpled wreckage of a giant airliner bearing the bodies of twelve persons was reached Monday by a posse of ground searchers near Saugus.

The searchers came on their gruesome find after five hours of tortuous climbing through brush covered ravines and over the mountains eighteen miles northwest of here. The wings of the big twin-motored Boeing, which disappeared Sunday night on a trip from San Francisco to Burbank, lay atop a ridge on the slope of Oak Mountain, five miles from Saugus.

Down in a narrow canyon rested what remained of the plane's fuselage, the bodies of nine passengers and the crew members crushed in the mass of metal.

United Air Lines officials said Pilot Edwin W. Blom apparently struck the top of Oak Mountain while trying to reach an open landing place in the San Fernando Valley just two ridges away. The ship then hurtled down the slope, shearing through scrub oak trees which lay broken and twisted along its disastrous trial. For a distance of almost 1,000 yards pieces of fuselage were strewn.

Body Hangs From Door.

Then, according to the evidence as constructed by United officials, the body of the ship struck the bottom of the ravine with terrific force, bounced a short distance up the other slope of the gulch and slid to the bottom. Searchers found the body of the ship resting across the bottom of the ravine. The broken and shapeless hulk scarcely resembled a plane. The nose of the ship as far back as the pilot's cabin was smashed to pieces. Within was the body of Copilot Robert McLean. The body of Blom could be seen hanging from an opened door.

A group including airline officials remained at the scene. The problem of extricating the bodies from the debris and carrying them out of the valley was acute.

So inaccessible is the narrow ravine that horses cannot be taken into it. The nearest road is four miles away.

A touch of grim irony was the sight of a Christmas wreath hanging over the door in the passenger's compartment.

Search for Searchers

C. E. Johnson of the United's operations department said the liner apparently crashed a few seconds after Blom sent out a radio message at 7:36 p.m. asking for the radio beam to guide him through the rain into Union Air Terminal at Burbank.

"Otherwise", said Johnson, "we would surely have heard from it in the next few minutes. The radio was working strong."

This was further borne out by the fact the plane was little, if any, off its regular route when it crashed.

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