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

Probe Begun.
The committee is headed by James Payton of Santa Monica, Calif., western regional director for the civil aeronautics board.
Other leading members include Will Sievert and Earl Mitchell of the CAB, George Haldeman of the civil aeronautics authority, Al Button of United Air Lines, and Ed Burton, chief engineer for Douglas Aircraft.
Identification will be directed by Col. A. D. Tuttle of Chicago, medical director for United Air Lines.
One CAB official who would not permit use of his name said he was particularly puzzled over the wide spread of the wreckage. Some parts were found 500 feet in front of the plane. Others were at the floor of Bryce canyon. to the rear of the wreckage.
Later Explosions.
The official said it was possible -- but he did not have any facts yet to support his theory -- that the passengers and crew of the doomed airliner had started throwing out any movable objects in an attempt to lighten the huge ship to help its desperate flight for the emergency landing field.
The CAB officer was also puzzled by the fact that the debris was scattered in the shape of a cross, indicating, he said, that there had been two explosions after the plane landed.
The body of one stewardess, as yet unidentified, was found on the canyon lip.
Air line officials praised the pilot, Capt. E. L. McMILLAN of Balboa Beach, Cal., for his vain fight to keep the plane in the air just a half minute longer when he might have been able to land on the Bryce canyon emergency air strip.
Only one other disaster in the history of American aviation exceeded it for the number of lives lost. That was the crash of an airliner near Port Deposit, Md., on May 30 this year when 53 persons were killed.
Several prominent persons were among the dead in yesterday's crash, including JACK GUENTHER, managing editor of Look magazine and former United Press sports writer; CLEMENT D. RYAN, former president of Montgomery Ward and Co., and JEFF BURKETT, Chicago Cardinals football player.
Volunteers worked in the wreckage at dawn today, pulling out torn bodies and attempting to identify them while government and airlines investigators sought the cause of the mysterious baggage compartment fire.
Federal regulators and air transport officials have made special efforts to eliminate fire -- the most feared hazard in aviation -- since a Lockheed constellation crash at Reading, Pa., in July, 1946, was blamed on faulty wiring.
Yesterday's crash was the first involving a DC-6, the biggest, fastest and newest of the proud Douglas air transports. President Truman uses one of the mainliners as his personal plane, the 'Independence.'
Douglas Aircraft officials said today that production of the DC-6 has been held up after the Reading crash to incorporate better fire protection devices in line with new requirements.
One of the devices was a fire detector installed in all parts of the plane not under constant surveillance by a crew member. That included the baggage compartment. Another device made it possible for the pilot to flood the area with carbon dioxide fire extinguisher as soon as the sensitive fire detector sounded an alarm.
The investigators searching the crash scene today speculated on a number of possibilities -- inflammable materials among the luggage, a fault in electrical wiring, or a defect in the hydraulic system.

Continued on Page 3.


Airplane Crash Bryce Canyon National Park

I was 4 years old and lived in Tropic Utah. My father saw the plane before the actual crash. He told me people were throwing baggage off the plane to make it lighter. A suitcase landed in our yard. He put me in the car and we drove up the crash site. The plane was still burning and I remember the smell of the smoke. I don't remember anyone else at the site. My father told me to stay in the car while he walked closer to the crash site. He came back to the car, but did not say anything. We returned home to Tropic. I think the sheriff came by and took the luggage. I am now 74 years old but remember the event well.

Lost on UAL Flight 608

Mr Rogers,
I'm very sorry that you lost your uncle in the horrific crash of United 608. As well, I have great sympathy to all others who lost people they loved and cared about in the crash, I'm sure your memories are of great sadness that remain in your thoughts today, so many years later.
I have been searching for a copy of your book, the lulu web address listed nothing 6 1/2 years after your comment. I can normally find used copies of most any out-of-print book through Amazon listings. I was unsuccessful. I know of some large used bookstores not far away I can physically check out hoping to find a copy.
The incident ooocured not many years after my birth in Provo Utah maybe 230 miles from Bryce Canyon, which makes the incident a little more significant to me personally. I love anything aviation related, researching the cause of air incidents is fascinating. Reading the detailed investigation reports can't be done without recognizing that there is overwhelming sadness for the loss of life.
Today we can travel by air very safely because the accidents of the past told designers how to improve passenger aircraft safety.. Every step we have taken forward is built upon the bodies passengers and flight crews. xLSaF

In answer to Paula Watkins

Hi Paula,
Sorry for such a long time between responses. I was laid up (paralyzed) and have been recovering. I am familiar with the Watkins name from listening to my Grandmother Edith Pittinger (McMillen)

Feel free to contact me at any time.

Kim Lundahl-Harpster

Capt. Everett L. McMillen

Kim, My grandfather was brother to Dora Watkins, so Everett was my 2nd cousin. I would love to contact you and your 3 sisters. Thank you.

Everett McMillan

He was my cousin. Aunt Dora Watkins McMillan was my great Aunt. I have been trying to find Sally's family. Contact me if any of you see this.

Thank you.

Archie & Luciele Murray were

Archie & Luciele Murray were my great grandparents as well!

Are you Rob's daughter?

Are you Rob's daughter? Archie and Lucille were my grandparents. MM

Capt. Everett McMillan was

Capt. Everett McMillan was the grandfather that I never knew, but had heard a few stories about the crash. I did not know the extent of the crash. I am doing some family history and have discovered a family tragety that should have been talked about more. Howerver, I suspect that the tragety was so over whelmingly painful for my mother and grandmother that talking about it was too hard. They loved and adored him, that much I did percieve.

Crash of UAL Flight 608 in Bryce Canyon National Park.

My uncle, Luther C. Francis died in this crash. My book "Lost on UAL Flight 608" is available at if anyone is interested about reading about the crash.

My mother's sister, Helen

My mother's sister, Helen Morrissey, was one of the stewardesses on this flight. I grew up hearing this story but today reading the details makes me weep. What a tragedy and great sorrow to all the families that lost loved ones.