Goleta, CA Airliner Wreckage Sighted, Apr 1951



Goleta, Calif. (UP) -- The burned wreckage of an airplane, with smoke still rising from the scattered rubble, was sighted from the air today in mountainous country where a southwest airways plane disappeared last night with 22 persons aboard.
TONY MACHADO, Santa Maria airport owner who joined scores of civilians assisting air force and Coast Guard searchers, spotted the wreckage in Refugio Pass between Santa Ynez and Gaviota Peaks.
He said it was "right on the radio beam" the missing plane would have been following in its flight from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara, its next scheduled stop.
"I feel sure this is the one," MACHADO said.
Only one wing of the plane appeared to be intact. He said he could not tell whether anyone was alive.
Second Wreckage Report.
Search officials headquarters here immediately sent ground crews to the scene, which was reported to be about one mile off a highway and midway between here and the Danish settlement of Solvang.
MACHADO'S report was the second report of wreckage to reach search headquarters within two hours.
The earlier one came from United Air Lines pilot LARRY SHAPIRO, who said he saw "completely demolished" wreckage on Santa Ynez Peak. At least five "derlict" wrecks were known to be scattered about the mountainous area, however.
GUY ASA BROWN of the Rutherford ranch, which is between here and Santa Ynez Peak, reported earlier that he saw the lights of a plane overhead last night. The plane seemed to turn around and head toward Santa Ynez Peak, he said.
The missing plane, a twin-engined DC-3, disappeared shortly after it took off from the Santa Maria airport last night, a little after 8 o'clock.
It was bound for Los Angeles, with the next stock[sic] scheduled at Santa Barbara 80 miles away. Its normal route would have carried it over 2500 foot Gaviota Pass, a narrow gap in the Santa Ynez mountains, and along the inlet-dotted coastline.
Morning fog and low-flying clouds made it hard for aerial searchers to see anything.
One Coast Guard plane reported sighting an oil slick in the ocean just off shore, but sheriff's deputies said it probably was caused by the loading of a tanker from undersea pipelines.
Search headquarters was set up here at Goleta air field, north of Santa Barbara, under direction of March Air Force Base Capt. JOHN R. AIDEM.
A helicopter and a C-82 "flying boxcar" loaded with a truck and trailer, radio and other equipment for ground search stood by at the air field.
Sheriff JOHN D. ROSS of Santa Barbara county said there was no hope of finding anything until the skies clear.

San Francisco -- (UP) -- The following 22 passengers and crew members were believed to be aboard a Southwest Airways plane missing today on a flight from Santa Maria, Calif., to Santa Barbara:
Capt. KNOX PITTMAN, South San Francisco, Calif.
Co-Pilot ROBERT ERICKSON, Los Altos, Calif.
Purser GRANT PATERSON, Burlingame, Calif.
MRS. NORTON CLAPP, 40, Medina, Wash., wife of the president of the Alaska Transportation Co.
GALE GARDNER, 13, MRS. CLAPP'S daughter by a former marriage.
JOHN BURGAN, Ventura, Calif., assistant editor of the Ventura Star-Free Press and author of the recently published novel "Martin Butterfield."
MRS. LUCILLE CULBERT, Santa Maria, Calif., employee of Our Lady of Perpetual Help hospital, Santa Maria.
Col. R. T. BATTEY, Army Field Forces, Fort Monroe, Va.
Lt. Col. R. L. COUGHLIN, Army Field Forces, Fort Monroe, Va.
Lt. Col. A. P. VON SCHLICHTEN, Army Field Forces, Fort Monroe, Va.
Lt. Col. J. H. BYRD, Army Field Forces, Fort Monroe, Va.
Capt. EVERITT HALL, USAF, Santa Clara, Calif.
EDWIN S. POTTER, 282 E. Valley Rd., Santa Barbara, Calif.
ALLAN W. WEBB, Seattle.
Pvt. KENNETH RODY, Route 1, Box 106, Tacoma, Wash.
Pvt. RICHARD MYERS, Fort Ord, Calif. (Hometown unavailable).
Pvt. JOHN McNEIL, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Ens. JOHN E. HEILMAN, Navy School of Indoctrination, Monterey (father's address: 7304 Forsythe, University City, Mo.)
Pfc. BILLY F. BADGLEY, Camp Cooke, Calif. (Hometown unavailable).
Pvt. MARSHALL MANGUM, Camp Cooke. (Hometown unavailable, but father, HERBERT MANGUM, reported waiting for him in Los Angeles).
Tech/Sgt. RUSSELL SCHULTZ, 306 Delia, Ludington, Mich.

Daily Review Hayward California 1951-04-07