Mora, NM Bomber Crashes, Jan 1963



Mora, New Mexico -- (AP) -- An Air Force B-52 bomber carrying six men crashed and burned in rugged mountain country about 10 miles north of here early today. There was at least one survivor. Turbulent winds prevented Air Force rescue teams from flying into the area and the rough terrain slowed parties approaching on the ground. Two Taos men made first visual contact with what is apparently the crash location, although they couldn't be certain. Military men are approaching that location from the ground. Lt. Col. NICHOLAS HORANGIE, an Air Force radar expert, parachuted to safety from the big bomber. He was reported in good condition at Mora Clinic. A spokesman at the clinic said HORANGIE had no information about the other crew members.
The eight-engine, $8 million dollar bomber, based at Walker Air Force Base near Roswell, was on a routine training mission.
A Federal Aviation Agency radar crew said it lost contact with the plane at about 5:10 a.m. The crew reported air turbulence in the area shortly before the aircraft disappeared.
W. J. Olds, editor of the Taos News, flew over the wreck scene about 9 a.m. He said all that could be seen was a burned area on a ridge east side of the Mora Valley between 10 and 15 miles north of Mora.
"The area was about 100 yards long and 50 yards wide," he said. "We thought we could see some wreckage in the trees, but we couldn't be sure."
Bill Miller, operator of a car agency at Taos and pilot of the plane, said the air was the most turbulent he had ever seen. Efforts to fly closer proved too dangerous.
Olds said he and Miller first spotted the burned area from Miller's Comanche 250. Miller said he thought he saw a man climbing to a hogback in the area.
The two reported two trees were still burning in the burned area.
They flew on to Las Vegas to report the find to military men, giving them coordinates. They then returned to the area and spent one and one-half hours flying over the region.
They reported seeing no other signs of a crash or parachutes.
Olds said the burned area is two miles east of the Mora-to-Chacon road about 10 to 12 miles north of Mora. It is on a pine-covered hogback.
Miller said he couldn't get lower than 10,500 feet because of the violent winds. The ridge, he estimated, was about 1,000 feet below that.
No nuclear materials were on the plane, Air Force spokesmen said.
The plane did carry two "Hound-dog" missiles, capable of transporting missile warheads.
Olds said the rescue crews should have reached the area from the ground about 10:45, but there have been no verification.
Miller and Olds said that four jets, two transports and two fighters moved into the area as they were leaving.
A jet-powered helicopter landed at Las Vegas this morning, unable to search the mountains because of the winds.
Officials at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, said the plane was being followed on radar and was last seen about 6:32 a.m.
"descending from a high altitude bombing and navigation training mission."
It was flying at an altitude of about 35,000 feet.
A Walker spokesman said a B-47 light bomber from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Ariz., flying in the area, reported seeing a flash on or near the ground at 7:10 a.m. The spokesman said the plane may have exploded.
HORANGIE parachuted out, walked part of the way to Mora, and caught a ride the rest of the way.

Santa Fe Daily New Mexican 1963-01-30

The Crew of the B-52:
Major GEORGE SZABO, systems operator.
M.Sgt. HARVEY BURL DEAN, tail gunner.
Lt. Col. DONALD HAYES, aircraft commander.
Major THOMAS J. McBRIDE, co-pilot.
Major EMIL GOLDBECK, navigator.
Lt. Col. NICHOLAS HORANGIE, radar operator.