West Shokan, NY Bomber Crash, Mar 1948
THREE ARE BELIEVED KILLED IN BOMBER CRASH ON MIDDLE RIDGE PEAK; ONLY TWO FOUND.
TWIN-ENGINE CRAFT STRIKES HILL, BURNS; BOYS FIND WRECK.
STEWART FIELD PLANES ARE KEPT FROM SCENE BY HEAVY CEILING; SHERIFF, TROOPERS AND CRASH CREW TRY TO FIND WRECKAGE.
Middle Ridge Peak, N. Y. -- Rescue crews today moved through heavily wooded country and fog near Middle Ridge Mountain toward the charred ruins of a B-25 medium bomber, believed by authorities to be the one which crashed shortly after 8 p.m. last night in Moonhaw Valley, several miles northwest of West Shokan.
The plane is believed to be one reported overdue at Stewart Field, Newburgh from Westover, Mass., and reports indicated it carried a crew of three.
Parts of two bodies were reported seen in the wreckage by a group of young men who climbed the mountain after some of them had seen the plane crash, explode and burn in the mountain country.
The plane was described at Stewart Field as one classified as a medium bomber during the war. It has twin engines and is not considered a large craft among bomber types of today.
A crash crew from Mitchel Field went to the mountain late last night to join searching crews from the sheriff's office, state police sub-stations and groups of natives of the West Shokan area in attempts to locate the plane.
They were hampered in their efforts by heavy rains, fog and the darkness in the heavily wooded country, but some of the young men, who got an early start in the search, said they saw indications of two bodies, and possibly a third in the wreckage.
The boys names as given to Sheriff George C. Smith are: Philip Coletti, Anthony Colange, Roger Cramer, John Bentley, Carmin Rustino and Glenn Beardsley. Another source included the name of Roger Minard.
A resident of the West Shokan area fixed the scene of the crash at a point "up from" the old Maltby "coal kilns," where bark was once burned.
Stewart Field reported this morning that planes were ready to take off from the field at dawn today but that a ceiling of only 600 feet kept them grounded. A radio crew left for the mountain at about dawn, however, the report said.
None of the official searching parties reached the scene last night, they reported today. Sheriff Smith said that his party consisting of County Investigator Clayton Vredenburgh, County Identification Officer Leonard Belmore and Deputy Sheriff Delbert Sapp, was led through the woods by Supervisor Claude Bell, of the town of Olive.
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