Goose Bay, NF 23 Die In C-54 Transport Crash, Dec 1947


Westover Field, Mass., Dec. 11 (UP) -- Three of the six survivors of the Labrador crash of an air transport command C-54 were flown from the crash scene to nearby Goose Bay Thursday night. Officials said remaining survivors and the bodies of 23 dead would be left until morning on the subarctic waste flat where the transport crashed and burned Tuesday midnight.

A radio dispatch from the Royal Canadian air force field at Goose Bay informed air transport command officers at Westover field that darkness, inclement weather and the perilous task of landing a plane near the crash scene made it impossible for the rescue helicopter to continue its work.

The dispatch did not identify or describe the physical condition of the three survivors to reach Goose Bay.

Earlier, a fragmentary radio message reaching Westover appealed for assistance in the rescue operations and a transport, carrying a second helicopter, was dispatched from here to assist in evacuating the living and dead from the wreckage of the burned C-54.

The helicopter, similar to the plane that reached the crash area earlier Thursday, was dismantled for the flight north and will be reassembled at Goose Bay. Its crew will consist of 1st Lt. ARTHUR L. PATE of Southern Pines, N. C., and 2nd Lt. OLLIE CLARK of Greenville, N. C.

Spokesmen at Westover said they were preparing a "flying hospital" to take off early Friday, if needed, and to bring any critically injured survivors back to Westover field.

It was not known immediately whether any of the survivors was injured.

Royal Canadian air force personnel, fliers from the air transport command center at Westover field and doctors who reached the scene by plane or by treking through scrub pine and dense frozen wilderness by dog sled listed the survivors as:

S/Sgt. WILLIAM J. BUJAK, flight traffic clerk, no home address. He was the only survivor of the 10-man crew.
Lt. Col. HARRY J. BULLIS of Portland, Mich., wartime commander of a B-24 squadron in the Pacific. During World War II, BULLIS won the silver star, the distinguished flying cross, the air medal and the soldiers medal.
1st Lt. J. M. BICKLEY, 229 21st pl., Santa Monica, Cal.
S/Sgt. JOSEPH P. STEFANOWICE, 1579 Homewood st., Warren, O.
Capt. JOHN H. SANDER, 1204 Bartine st., Horseheads, N. Y.
Cpl. G. L. HARTER, 711 West State st., Fort Wayne, Ind.

It was only six weeks ago, army spokesmen said, when HARTER was the principal in another aerial rescue. At that time he was on duty in the remote Clyde river area of Baffin island. Suffering from a badly infected jaw, he was flown to a hospital by an army plane hat made a perilous landing on ice to effect the rescue.
Westover field was the destination of the C-54 when it crashed and burned eight miles north of Goose bay while on an unscheduled flight from the field there with mail and military cargo.

Rescue operations began immediately. An air transport flew to Westover from Patterson field in Dayton, O., where it picked up a dismantled helicopter. The helicopter was assembled at Goose bay and took off at dawn Thursday morning for the crash scene.

The air transport command Thursday night issued a partial list of the 23 killed in the Goose Bay crash. They were Lt. Col. ALBERT D. PHILLIPS; Capt. MERLE E. PARKINSON; Capt. CARL W. SCHLEICHE; 1st Lt. WILLIAM V. LAWS (Astoria, Ore.); 1st Lt. WILLIAM L. PILCHER; Maj. HENRY A. AKRON; Capt. JOHN CHARLES TURNEY; M/Sgt. GEORGE J. WILLIAMS; M/Sgt. STAFFORD C. RASTALL; 1st Sgt. JOHN T. MORRIS.

Salt Lake Tribune Salt Lake City Utah 1947-12-12


Goose Bay air disaster Dec 10 1947

I am so sorry that your father passed in this tragedy. My father and his brother who was a Canadian forces officer, were first to the scene. Uncle George Budgell knew my father was their best bet to find the crash site due to his knowledge of the area and together they trekked through the woods to find the aircraft. Many of the passengers had died on impact but my father was able to help keep a handful alive by keeping them warm and providing food until the following day when a rescue crew was dispatched. A few men died overnight from injuries too severe. For these men, my father and his brother stayed with them and provided what comfort they could. I think about this tragedy every year this time as I am sure you must. My father never forgot it and had even written about it for the local paper. Those men always stayed with him and he returned to the crash site in his 70's to honor them and their memory.

goosebay plane crash

My uncle was the pilot of the crashed skymaster his name Richard Casey. I am looking for any available info anyone might have on this incident. My father only briefly spoke of the crash stating the plane was overloaded at time of flight. I have the accident report and bad weather was to blame. Mark Casey.

My father was called to

My father was called to search for the downed plane and with his brother was first to the scene. They kept the survivors alive until the USAF arrived the next day. He kept a fire going, killed partridge for food and provided comfort to those who were too injured to survive the night. It was something he never forgot and in his 70's returned to the crash site with a friend to pay tribute to those lost. He died this year at 88 years old and I am very proud that he saved the lives of those men so long ago. I hope they went on to have long fulfilled lives as he did.

Son of Lt.Col. Albert Dana Phillips M.D. KIlled in C54 Crash

Hi Stu, I was thinking about my dad tonight and checked his name on Google and was surprised to find the accident referenced and described by you. At the time of the crash, he was CO of the Newfoundland Base Command's Hospitals in St. Johns Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and Labrador. I was 12 years old at the time and I and my two younger sisters and our Mom had just relocated to post at Fort Pepperal in St. Johns to be with him at his headquarters post. We returned to Sacramento California shortly after the crash where I live now. We were never told very much of the details of the crash or such were never discussed by my mom if she knew anything. My dad loved the Military and had planned to stay regular AAF after the war ended. I remember my mom saying how excited he was to be shortly receiving his new Blue AIR FORCE UNIFORM which he never received as the AIR FORCE became its 'own' branch of service. I had been handicapped by Polio and so unable to serve. But one of my sister's sons, Capt. Anthony Angello graduated from the Air Force Academy and has had a rich military career that continues to this day in the active reserves I believe. Since you are obviously interested in researching such events, I thought you might like to hear at least a little more about one of the Patriots on board, my dad. I would be glad to hear from you or if you care to write. Same goes for others connected by the tragedy. Regards, A. Dana Phillips III

you are most welcome Stu

you are most welcome

William L Pilcher

I found this page tonight and am grateful for more inoformation on the death of my father. Thank you for posting this.