Bozeman, MT Plane Crash, Jan 1938

ALFRED NIKLES, a Bridger mountains rancher, furnished a bobsled and horse to take the searching party the last leg of the trip into the canyon-cut mountains.

In the party were NIKLES, the sheriff, J. A. NEE, district mechanic for the U. S. Bureau of Air Commerce in charge of beacons, and his assistant J. T. TROWBRIDGE.

The group reported the twin-motored plane had struck on a slope on the east side of the Bridger range, a short range following the Continental Divide.

The plane was about two miles from the NIKLES ranch. Another ranch a half mile from the scene, the Flaming Arrow dude ranch, is closed during the winter months.

First word of the disaster came to the forest service from ELMER JOHNSON, a rancher living in the sparsely inhabited area, who said he saw a plane fall near the Flaming Arrow dude ranch. Sheriff WESTLAKE and a party of forest rangers started for the area on the basis of this report.

Two woodcutters, C. A. LARSON and GLENN WHITE, said they saw the plane go into a tail spin and burst into flames as it struck the earth about 200 feet from them.

A body was thrown clear of the wreckage, the two witnesses said, but it landed so close to the flames they could not reach it. They said they immediately set out for the highway to summon aid and met Sheriff WESTLAKE and a party of forest rangers.

The sheriff's quickly-organized searching party was provided skis and snowshoes by the forest service.

Continued on page 9


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!