Spirit Lake, WA Cargo Plane Crash, Nov 1949

Search Directed For Cargo Plane

Portland, Ore., (UP) - Air Force resuce crews hoped for clear weather Wednesday so they cound search for a C-54 cargo plane carrying six men that disappeared shortly after the pilot radioed "I am confused."

An air-sea rescue detachment from McChord Field, Wash., set up headquarters here to direct the search.

The plane vanished while flying through intermittent rain and fog near Toledo, Wash., in a mountainous area in southwestern Washington.

The pilot had notified ground radio personnel here a few minutes earlier that the bad weather had "confused" him.

Rain, clouds and fog were expected to lift to allow aircraft from the rescue serice, the Orgeon Air National Guard, and the Civil Air Patrol to begin a search. All craft will be operated under officers from McChord field detachment.

The C-54 was on a round-trip navigational flight from McChord field to the Portland airport to practice instrument approach over the Woodland, Wash., range marker, 40 miles north of here.

The pilot had received clearance from the Portland CAA communications station to descend from 7,000 to 6,000 feet in order to make an instrument landing approach at the Portland airport. The pilot was to hold the plane at 6,000 feet until it reached Woodland, and then report to Portland tower for further clearance.

The Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, IL 23 Nov 1949


Wrecked Airplane Is Found on Peak

Portland, Ore., Nov. 30. - (UP) - Mountain climbers Wednesday reached the snow-covered wreckage of an air force C-54 at the 6,000-foot level of towering Mount St. Helens and messaged: "No survivors. Plane under snow."

Identification of the wreckage as an eight-day missing air force plane was made by tail markings protruding from the snow. Air-sea rescue headquarters said no bodies were found, according to reports radioed after the message of discovery.

The six crewmen of the big, four-engined cargo carrier were presumed buried in the snow.

The ground party of 16 climbers worked from dawn to cover the 10-mile trek from Spirit Lake, Wash., until 3 p.m. They were once forced back by 50-mile-an-hour winds that whipped up powder snow on the mountain and cut visibility.

After identifying the wreckage they began the descent to the advance base and messaged they would return Thursday to dig out victims of the crash if the weather permitted.

Before the party was forced back it reported "locating the wreckage which some headquarters interpreted to mean they had reached the C-54 and others that they had merely seen it.

Aircraft circled the cone-shaped peak, named after a British ambassador to the Spanish court in 1792, and relayed progress of the search.

The Billings Gazette, Billings, MT 1 Dec 1949


Rescue Crew Leaves for Scene of Plane Crash

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE (UP) - A mountain rescue crew left a timberline base camp on Mount St. Helens Saturday en route to the wreckage of a C-54 air force transport plane which crashed 19 days ago, killing six men.

The men, under the command of 1st Lt. Edmund G. Guiezynski of Mattapan, Mass., are attached to the 14th regimental combat team of Camp Carson, Colo.

The rescue rew was guided up the treacherous mountain side by a B-17 dropping smoke [illegible]. The shattered C-54 was located Wednesday.