Bozeman, MT Plane Crash, Jan 1938

Sheriff LOVITT I. WESTLAKE, who led the first searching party over tortuous roads and trails to the wreckage said he "counted nine bodies" in his hasty examination at the scene.

A report STEVENSON might have left the plane at Butte caused the number of dead to be questioned for a time last night, but airport officials at Butte, the plane's last stop before the crash, stated eight passengers and two crew members were aboard when it left.

Bodies Badly Burned
The sheriff reported the bodies were badly burned, three and[sic] been thrown, or fallen, from the fuselage, and the others - he could not tell if there were six or seven – were tossed into the front of the shattered airliner.

The wings lay at right angles to the wrecked fuselage, and the nose of the ship appeared to have been snapped off by impact with the frozen ground.

The passengers were the first to be killed in a transport plane crash in Montana, and the first to meet death on a Northwest Airlines flight. The National Safety Council awarded the line a certificate last year for its 11-year record of flying 47 million passenger miles with no passenger fatalities.

The plane, bound for Chicago from Seattle via Minneapolis, had been grounded for a time at Butte because of bad weather. Its next stop would have been Billings, Mont.

A post office official at Helena, Mont., said the plane, a new 14-passenger Lockheed Zephyr, carried mail.

Coroner HOWARD NELSON of Gallatin county started for the crash scene last night but was turned back by the raging blizzard. He later was informed by Sheriff WESTLAKE that snow drifting over the wreckage would delay the investigation.

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Pin-point the crash site in Bridgers?

Researching to see if I can find the crash site. Anyone from Bozeman or Belgrade out there, feel free to contact me.

-Roxanne Kenison, Seattle

Bozeman 1938 crash

Thank you so very much for posting this very detailed account of the crash that killed my grandfather, Irven Stevenson (not JE, but IE). I have a trove of material from my grandmother - thinking there are some stories to tell here. Nick Mamer's daughter Patti became my mother's (Dorothy's) best friend after the death of their fathers. Until now I have found only sketchy accounts of the crash. The detail here brought the scene to life, and I confess, made me sad all over again that I never knew my mother's father other than in pictures and what he wrote. Thank you again - this websiteis a gem!