Bryce Canyon, UT Plane Smashes Into Plateau, Oct 1947

Bryce Canyon UT wreckage 10-24-1947.jpg Bryce Canyon UT wreckage site 10-1947.jpg




Bryce Canyon, Utah. Oct. 25 -- (U.P.) --Investigators today had a new DC-6 flown to Bryce Canyon to compare the intact craft with its sister ship that crashed here yesterday killing 52 persons.
The new ship will be taken as close as possible to the spot on the Bryce Canyon plateau where United Air Lines' trip 608 ended in flaming tragedy.
As the investigators pick up pieces of the broken, burned craft, whey will be taken over by the other DC-6 and "matched -- if possible." a Douglas Aircraft company spokesman said.
Crash Area Checked.
"That's about the only way they can tell where the parts fit," he explained.
At the same time inspectors were checking over the crash area and the final path of the plane as its pilot tried desperately for 11 minutes to fight an aerial fire and reach the emergency field.
From the charts, the investigators hoped to be able better to know what caused the fire and how rapidly it spread in the sealed rear baggage compartment.
The bodies of 50 adults and two babies lay on the frost-covered ground until mid-morning today, when the grim task of removing them to a mortuary in Richfield, Utah, 72 miles north of Bryce Canyon, began.
The bodies were placed in crates and loaded on trucks for the trip to Richfield. Actually few of the bodies were whole. Most of the crates were filled with body parts that would be assembled in the mortuary.
By noon, 18 crates of bodies or parts had been picked up.
Await Identification.
Officials said they would not even attempt to establish the identity of the bodies until they were in the morturary. They said that dental charts would be the best aid in the identification -- the bodies were so badly burned and mangled.
After identification is established at Richfield, the bodies will be sent to the victims' homes.
Guards, braving sub-freezing weather, remained around the wreckage all night, making sure that the maroon-blanket covered corpses were not disturbed.
The investigators from many agencies and companies started their probe with a "policy" committee meeting. At the meeting, the procedure to be followed during the twin task of investigating the accident cause and identifying the dead was outlined.

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Archie A. and Mrs. Archie A. Murray

My great grandparents (Archie Alexander Murray and Edith Luciele (Reising) Murray were on that plane!

Bryce Canyon Crash, Oct. 1947

According to the Aviation Safety Network, after the accident, investigators noted that the DC-6 airplane design included a No.3 alternate fuel tank vent outlet that was located on the right side of the fuselage near the leading edge of the wing and close to the bottom wing fillet. Approximately 10 feet aft of this point and slightly to the left there was an air scoop which served as a source of cabin heater combustion air and cooling air for the cabin supercharger air after-cooler and cabin supercharger oil cooler. Flight tests conducted with other model DC-6 aircraft subsequent to the accident revealed that overflow from the No. 3 alternate tank through the air vent line and out the vent outlet would sweep back in the slip stream toward the cabin heater combustion air intake scoop and that a considerable quantity of fuel would enter the scoop. Ground tests clearly demonstrated that, under conditions simulating the entry of fuel overflow into the scoop inflight while the heater was operating, the cabin heater could be expected to backfire and thereby propagate flame downstream into the air scoop. Incoming fuel would, thereafter, be expected to continue to burn in the air scoop and duct.

The probable cause of this accident, therefore, was "the combustion of gasoline which had entered the cabin heater air intake scoop from the No.3 alternate tank vent due to inadvertent overflow during the transfer of fuel from the No.4 alternate tank. The failure of the manufacturer and the Civil Aeronautics Administration to exercise full caution in the analysis of the fuel system of the DC-6 relative to proper location of fuel tank vents to provide non-hazardous location for fuel drainage, as required by existing regulations, and the insufficient attentiveness on the part of the manufacturer, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and the air carriers to the procedures of fuel management employed by pilots operating DC-6 aircraft, were contributing factors."