Crown Point, CO Bomber Crashes, June 1944
AULT AND PIERCE ANGLERS FIND TWO EXHAUSTED SURVIVORS OF B-17 CRASH WEST OF FT. COLLINS.
Fort Collins, Colo., June 15. -- Search parties today reached the wreckage of a B-17 bomber which crashed 30 airline miles west of Fort Collins, killing several members of the 10-man crew.
Two crew members who found help after a 14-hour hunt from the snowy, mountainous crash scene reported four of the army fliers dead and possibly a fifth. The others suffered slight to serious injuries, and they were without food or drugs from the time of the crash, Tuesday night until today.
Sheriff Ray Barger said he obtained information on the dead and injured from the two who left for help --
Sgt. DON JACOBS and Cpl. LeROY FAIGIN. Their hometowns were not available.
The Lowry Field public relations office at Denver reported the arrival of the search parties, but said no other news had been received from the isolated spot and that the names of the crew members would not be released until it was officially determined who the dead were.
An unexplainable hunch led two Weld county fishermen to a spot in the mountains, along Little Beaver creek, about 20 miles west of Fort Collins Wednesday evening where they stumbled upon two exhausted and weary army aviators who for 14 hours had been trying to make their way to the outside world after their plane had crashed and burned in the high points near Crown Point about 30 miles west of Fort Collins.
The firshermen were FRED WALKER, a mail carrier at Pierce and ARTHUR J. COPES of Ault. They had been fishing on the Poudre and the Little South with little luck. Late in the day they decided to try the Little Beaver.
"We had no particular reason to go up the Little Beaver, but something must have told us to do it," COPES said. They had gone up the stream nearly three miles when they met the two fliers who told them of the plane crash in which they believed three men were dead and others hurt.
COPES and WALKER took the two fliers to Ted's Place where word was relayed to Fort Collins about 10 p.m. Wednesday night.
Rescue parties were organized during the night and set out at daylight Thursday from the Crandall ranch in search of the plane, its three dead and the injured.
The two men found by the Weld county fishermen were Sgt. DON JACOBS, engineer, and Cpl. LeROY FAIGIN, waist gunner.
They said that one other member of the crew was not hurt much and had been left on guard at the scene of the crash.
Faulty navigation is believed to have been the cause of the crash.
Shortly before the crash, the plane had passed over a lighted town. There was some discussion in the plane that the town might be Greeley, one of the goals of the training flight.
One man looked out of the plane and saw trees beneath them. He called for more altitude and the pilot pulled up, but not in time and the plane crashed into trees. It did not strike the mountain headon which probably accounted for the fact that only three of the 10-man crew are believed to have been killed.
The two who made their way to the outside said that they believed the pilot, co-pilot and navigator were dead, that the tail-gunner probably was fatally hurt and that three other members of the crew were badly hurt. The bombardier was left on guard, they said. He was not badly hurt.
Fort Collins officers were provided with the names of all members of the crew.
The Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1944-06-15