Bailey, CO (near) Bomber Crash, Sep 1943


Bailey, Colo., Oct. 1. -- A four-engined army bomber crashed and burned on a timbered slope in the Rockies 13 miles west of here last night -- the fourth such crash in as many days in Colorado.
The scene of the latest crash in a series which began in a south Denver residential section last Sunday was about 67 miles southwest of Denver, near the mountain hamlet of Villa Santa Maria Del Norte.
With the death toll placed unofficially at "seven or eight," the casualty list for all crashes since Sunday mounted to at least 32. Sheriff S. H. Law reported one crew member bailed out shortly before the crash at about 8 p.m. last night and landed safely at Royal's ranch, on Deer Creek some 20 miles across the mountain from the crash scene.
Residents of nearby Santa Maria saw the plane crash and burst into flame last night.
There was no immediate official report from Lowry Field authorities, who were at the crash scene. Nor was there any information as to where the plane was based.
Mrs. Edward Bell, wife of the superintendent of a children's camp at Santa Maria, reported seven were killed. One body was thrown clear of the wreckage, she said. Sheriff Law said his preliminary investigation of the crash late last night showed eight were dead. The sheriff said it might have been seven, however, as "it's pretty hard to tell at night."
"It happened about 8 o'clock," said Mrs. Bell. "The bomber struck the mountain slope just below timberline at between 11,000 and 12,000 feet. Army
officers left for Royal's ranch this morning to get the man who bailed out."
Mrs. Bell said a ground party, headed by Forest Ranger E. S. Erickson, had identified the plane as a four-engined Liberator.
It roared over Santa Maria camp apparently in distress, Mrs. Bell said.
"It appeared to be in a nose dive," she said. "The tail of the plane was whirling around."
"Then, it seemed to her, the pilot pulled the ship out of the dive, and it roared on at a low elevation to the northeast."
Mrs. Bell said she and her son saw it strike a mountain side about four miles away. Flames sprang up, and the fire, either from the wreckage or from underbrush was burning almost until midnight, she reported.

Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1943-10-01

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