Port Angeles, WA Airplane Crash, Mar 1957
Five Die In Crash Of Plane
PORT ANGELES (AP) â€“ Investigators sought an explanation Monday for the mystery of how an Alaska airliner carried five persons to death on an Olympic Peninsula mountainside in daylight and good weather.
The Alaska Airlines four-engine DC4 met disaster late Saturday only 18 minutes from its Seattle-Tacoma Airport destination. It was on the home leg of a flight of more than 1,500 miles from Fairbanks.
Searchers found the charred wreckage Sunday at the 2,000-foot level about 30 miles southeast of here. The bodies of the two passengers and three crew members were brought here.
Ironically, both the passengers were making quick trips to the states to visit their mothers â€“ one because the mother is critically ill; the other for a birthday surprise.
MISS CONSTANCE REPPERT, 24, was on a three-week leave for a surprise visit for her mother's birthday at Elkins, W. Va. MISS REPPERT was a recreation director at Army anti-aircraft sites in the Fairbanks area.
LEROY KELLEY, 38, a carpenter at Ladd Air Force Base, was flying south because of the illness of his mother in Texas.
Crew Members Listed.
The crew members were Capt. LARRY CURRIE of Seattle, the pilot; LYLE EDWARDS, Seattle, co-pilot; and ELIZABETH GOODS of Roblin, Manitoba, the stewardess.
Normally the plane would have been carrying a far greater number of passengers, but airline officials said Saturday flights from Alaska to Seattle generally are light.
CURRIE, a native of Portland, had been with the company about 10 years and was described by the airline and friends as â€œone of the best pilots in the business.â€ He leaves a wife and four children.
EDWARDS, who had been with the line about nine years, is survived by his widow and two children.
Plane Crashes Against Slope.
The plane crashed against a timbered slope after the pilot had radioed at 5:16 p. m., that he was flying â€œvisual,â€ which meant it was clear enough for him to fly without instruments.
The Weather Bureau reported, however, there were clouds over the Olympic Peninsula area from 2,000 to 4,000 feet. Conjecture was that the plane flew into a cloud bank to disaster.
An airline spokesman said the plane was â€œvery close to its course, if not on it.â€
The â€œbig unknownâ€ was why the veteran pilot was flying so low. There was no report from the plane of any trouble.
Bodies Recovered Sunday.
The bodies were recovered Sunday by a party that was landed by helicopter on a road about a mile away from the crash scene. The crash was discovered early Sunday by a Coast Guard helicopter pilot.
The plane had cut a swath through heavy timber before hitting the saddleback.
Two Civil Aeronautics Board investigators flew from Washington, D. C., to join West Coast CAB men in the inquiry into the crash.
The Daily Chronicle Centralia Washington 1957-03-04