Morton, WA (vicinity) Bomber Crash, Jan 1941



Morton, Wash., Feb. 4. -- An army searching party today goes to the wreckage of a twin-motored bomber, missing since Jan. 16, with seven men. There was no hope that any survived.
Harry Studhalter, 32, and Tom Harper, 30, woodsmen, said they sighted the wreckage on Huckleberry Mountain, in the foothills of Mt. Rainier, through binoculars. Vultures were circling over the wreck, fragments of which were scattered over a wide area, they said. They believed all aboard were dead.
The army would not acknowledge officially that the bomber had crashed, and refused to let anyone go near it in advance of the searching party, possibly because the plane was equipped with a modern bomb sight, a guarded military secret.
Two state policemen and an army officer, led by Studhalter, left Morton shortly after midnight for the scene. They carried a portable shortwave radio transmitter to report to the main searching party, which left at dawn.
Aboard the Douglas B-18-A light bomber when it took off from McChord Field, Tacoma, Wash., to practice bombing over Murdoc Dry Lake, in Southern California, were:
First Lieut. R. M. KRUMMES, pilot, Boise, Idaho.
Second Lieut. C. T. NIELSEN, co-pilot, Eau Claire, Wis.
Second Lieut. J. F. GOIS, navigator, Seattle.
First Lieut. L. E. MACKAY, passenger, Lincoln, Neb.
Sgt. H. A. DAVIS, technical engineer, Tacoma.
Sgt. L. H. NEITLING, radio operator, Scio, Ore.
Sgt. P. L. MAAS, bombardier, Quincy, Ill.
Had they survived the crash, observers said, they could have walked to civilization, if they were injured, they would have died of exposure in the frigid mountain weather.
Studhalter said he heard the plane flying low over his house on the morning of Jan. 16.
"When I learned that it was missing, I figured it couldn't have cleared the mountains at that altitude and I knew it must be down somewhere," he said.
"We had been looking for the plane for about a week, but didn't get clear weather until Monday morning. We set out at dawn and found the plane early in the afternoon."
"That's all I can say now. The army won't let me talk about it."
They will claim the $1,000 reward offered by relatives of four men aboard.

Evening Gazette Xenia Ohio 1941-02-04