Pilot Knob Mountain, NY Airplane Crashes On Peak, Nov 1969


Lake George, N. Y. (AP) -- Helicopters airlifted recovery teams to the top of Pilot Knob Mountain today, but officials still pondered ways to transport down the bodies of 14 persons killed in an airplane crash on the desolate rugged peak.
State Police and State Conservation Department teams clambered down the side of the mountain from its peak to the site where a Mohawk Airlines plane crashed in a ball of fire Wednesday night.
Only a few men could reach the scene late Wednesday. Today, others on the ground tried to slog their way through snow drifts and tangling underbrush to the crash site.
Even if the ground parties reached the scene, a state trooper said, it was not known whether the bodies could be taken down through the almost impenetrable foliage.
In Washington, the FBI said it was sending its disaster squad to help with identificatons.
All 11 passengers and the three crew members perished in the crash of Mohawk flight 411.
The cause of the crash was not immediately pinpointed but it was raining at the time and winds had gusted to 50 miles an hour in bursts coming off the lake that bears the same name as this upstate resort community.
Snow began falling with a vengeance early today, adding to the woes of investigators and guards around the wreckage. Fog was so thick during the late evening that some officers sent to the crash scene -- well up the 2,078-foot height of Pilot Knob -- walked by the still-flaming wreckage without seeing it.
The first men to reach the site fought their way through clinging mud, thick trees and slippery shale of the Adirondack Mountain peak shortly before 11 p.m. and radioed to the more than 100 persons waiting below: "No survivors."
Flight 411 originated at LaGuardia airport in New York City with nearly a full load of 44 persons. All but 11 passengers got off at the Albany stop.
The prop-jet aircraft took off at 8 p.m., bound for Warren County Airport at Glens Falls a mere 20 minutes to the north. The crash came 10 miles north of Glens Falls.
CHARLES DENNIS, 63, of North Adams, Mass., said he saw the airplane "wavering" before he stepped into a building and returned to see "the whole sky was red."
Other residents of the sparsely populated area said they heard an explosion.
The scene of the crash was guarded by a foreboding wall of solid shale, ranging from 100 feet to 100 yards high and accessible only by a narrow passage made slick by rain. It is an area generally avoided even by hikers and deer hunters.
All available emergency equipment was rushed to the scene and area hospitals were put on alert.
Federal Aviation Agency investigators were on the scene and the National Transportaton Safety Board in Washington, D.C., dispatched a team to investigate the crash.
A Mohawk spokesman said the pilot of Flight 411 had only "routine" communications with the control tower at Albany after takeoff. There was no indication that the airplane was in trouble, he said.
First Officer MORROW, one of the crew members killed in the crash, attended Syracuse University for one year before transfering to Clarkson College of Technology.

Utica, N.Y. (AP) -- Mohawk Airlines identified the crew of the twin-engine jet-prop plane that crashed Wednesday on a mountain near Lake George, killing all 14 aboard.
They were:
Capt. RAYMOND P. HOURIHAN, 31, of Orchard Park, N.Y., the a five year veteran with Mohawk.
First Officer JOHN P. MORROW, 31, of Orchard Park, N.Y., the co-pilot.
Stewardess ANNE M. MIKLECHIK, 23, of Kingsbury Park, L.I., N.Y.
The airline identified the 11 passengers as:
MRS. VERNON DESHER, Glennville, Ga.
ANDREW CALVI, about 63, of Fair Haven, Vt., probate judge of Rutland County, Vt.
His wife, HAZEL CALVI, about 55, Fair Haven, Vt.
MRS. ANNA LANT, Glens Falls.
JEAN J. CROZET, Courhevole, France.
MR. S. BRASCHI, Azemont, France.
MR. JEAN LEGOFF, LeChesany, France.
W. R. BENDY, St. Louis, Mo.

Syracuse Herald Journal New York 1969-11-20