Shelton, WA (near) Navy Patrol Plane Crash, Nov 1952


Shelton, Wash. -- A Navy patrol plane with 11 men aboard crashed in flames near here Wednesday night and state patrolmen said it was unlikely there were any survivors.
The Navy said the plane was a four-engined Privateer from its Sand Point Naval Air Station at Seattle.
The plane, groping through rainy skies plunged into a hillside on the Olympic Peninsula some 15 miles northwest of here about 7:30 p.m.
The crash scene is in one of the most rugged sections of the North American continent, with forest so dense even deer hunters refuse to fight their way through it.
DON RAGAN, a dairy farmer, said he heard the plane "coming by low."
"I looked out the barn door," RAGAN said, "and could see its wing lights, it was so low."
"There was a big flash when she hit, then the gas tanks exploded. It must have been at least a mile and one-half away, but it sounded like it wasn't even 100 feet away."
"I don't see how anyone could have lived through that. It hit head on."
RAGAN said the plane fell into a heavily timbered area and started a fire that flared for an hour.
Capt. WILLIAM CHAMBLISS, 13th Naval District public information officer, said in Seattle the plane was attached to Patrol Squadron 772 at Sand Point.
A Coast Guard plane left for the crash scene from Port Angeles, Wash., about 50 miles north. Ground parties started into the rugged country, some using a railroad speeder on a spur track running into the Olympic Mountains.
The plane was last heard from at 6:23 p.m. calling the Shelton radio range station.
About 20 minutes later a Western Airlines plane approaching Seattle reported a large explosion and fire near Lake West, north of Shelton.

Independent Long Beach California 1952-11-13



Shelton, Wash., Nov. 14 (AP) -- The Mason County sheriff's office reported the wreckage of a missing four-engine Navy Privateer plane which had 11 men aboard had been found in rugged Olympic Peninsula country.
The report was received at the office of Sheriff W. A. (JUG) POTTER. The plane disappeared last night on a flight from the Sand Point Naval Air Station at Seattle.
Chief Deputy Sheriff FORD MEYER said the plane has been found but "at this time we don't know of any survivors."
"Four bodies have been found so far," he added.
MEYER said the wreckage was found near an abandoned logging camp approximately 400 feet from when the camp watchmen said he spotted the flames when the crash occurred.
The crew members and their next of kin included:
Lt. (JG) LEE S. PYLES, 26, co-pilot; wife in Seattle; parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harley T. Pyles, 129 Cochran St., Fairmont, W. Va.
Ens. STUART T. C. SMITH, 24, navigator; wife in Seattle; mother, Mrs. Gladys N. Smith, Perryville, Md.

Post Herald Beckley West Virginia 1952-11-15



Seattle, Nov. 15 (AP) -- The charred bodies of the 11 crewmen aboard a big Navy patrol bomber which crashed and burned on a rugged Olympic peninsula hillside Wednesday, were flown to Bremerton late today.
The Navy said the bodies were taken to the Naval hospital where they will be held for identification.
An Air Rescue team from the Sand Point Naval air station, home base of the ill-fated four-engine Privateer, packed the bodies out from the almost impenetrable wilderness during the day.

Albuquerque Journal New Mexico 1952-11-16


Plane crash

John and his brother went to the site. A machine gun was left behind so they took it home. A neighbor took it. Soon after the FBI was at the door. Years later while logging the area..a road was punched in the crash site. 2 of the engines were moved down to the cold deck until authorities pick up.