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PLANE CRASHES IN THE OLYMPICS


There were a few Air Force crashes in the Olympics. Just like Mt. Rainier, they both seem to attract planes.

Humes Glacier Crash

Information contributed by Clarke Stockwell

From my old records I have this information - The crash happened on October 4, 1956 and I believe the planes were two F 89 Scorpions from McCord AFB. Each plane had a two man crew and three of them survived and were retrieved from the Queets Basin area by rescue helicopters. We were on a 18-day backpack up the Elwah and out the Quinault with a 6-day visit to Queets Basin for an attempt on Mt. Olympus. The weather caught us in the Basin so we had time on our hands for exploring. We had visited the area briefly in 1957 but one member injured a knee and we hiked out of Queets Basin in 2 days with very heavy packs. We had found some plane wreckage on that trip as well. The one plane impacted below the snout of the Humes Glacier and there was (is?) quite a bit of it scattered there.

In our exploring we descended a gully and found human remains on August 27, 1958. See photo. These were placed in a cairn and marked with a cross and written description in a small container. This was all reported to the Air Force. They intended to return to retrieve the remains, although it was probably accomplished in 1959.

I have included a photo of Bruce Johnson standing by some of the wreckage, a photo of the gulley where the remains were discovered, a photo of the remains which you may not want to display, and copies of the letter to myself and my father. I was just 20 years old at the time. One of the interesting things that happened was our finding of a full case of C-Rations exposed in the melted Dodwell-Rixon Snow Finger. We ate like Kings for several days back at Chicago Camp and very much enjoyed our good luck. Our only successful climb on the trip was of Mt Christy from Low Divide.

I hope this isn't too big of a download. I don't have the technology to make PDF Files so the letters are in bmp format. I have more photos taken in the Basin and trip in general but nothing else very significant of the wreckage.

I hope to return one of these years to follow the route of Herb Crisler through the Baileys to Queets Basin.

Regards,

Clarke Stockwell

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Bruce Johnson and wreckage.
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Wreckage in the gully.
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Human remains.


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First Letter.
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Second Letter.


draff8888@comcast.net sent me the following on 12/12/2006 .

I forwarded your discussion about the crash to my old district ranger and it brought back some memories. Love your section on the Queets.

George Bowen reflects on Humes Glacier Crash

Boy, that brings back memories. I got rehired after terminating as an Elwha Fire Guard to wrangle a pack string with Gordon Cooke (the Park Trails guy). We took a long string with Air Force demolition guys and gear into Chicago Camp and made a big Base Camp. Day hiked/rode up to the Snow Finger and Dodwell/Rixon Pass and they blew up ordinance. Part of the remains we brought out were in a flight helmet The Radar Observer is the one that couldn't bail out because his ejection system was torqued following the midair collision. We found where he had jerked the manual trigger so hard, it broke.

They were two-two person fighters from Paine Field. Two were picked up not too far from the crash and one followed the Elwha to Hayes River then hiked over Hayden Pass and out the Dosie and was picked up by a logger on the lower Dosie Road. We never could figure out why he made a right turn and just didn't follow the phone line down and out the Elwha.

Side Note: A bull elk was in the vicinity of one of the crashs and must have received concussion blast or something. He was dragging his hind quarters around when the first rescuers got there. There was a veterinarian on one of the Mountain Rescue teams (Dr. Harry Lydiard) who put the critter down.

Side Note #2: What I remember best was sitting around the campfire at Base Camp and listening to Ome Diaber (Mr. Mountain Rescue) spinning tales. Big stuff for an 18 yr old.

Note from Elder Bob:

I like the last part about Ome Diaber. I went on a few rescues with him when I was in Mt. Rescue up there. I remember his mummy sleeping bag that had legs in it so he could walk around while still in it. Also remember using Snow Seal, a silicon water repellant for boots that he invented. Heard his stories about when he was near the South Pole.

Mt. Constance Crash


Here is something I got from Washington State Military Aviation Memorial.
The date was March 20th, 1975. The aircraft was U.S. Air Force C-141 transport # 64-0641 enroute from Japan to McChord Field. A traffic controller nearing the end of his shift mistook the C-141 for another aircraft in a different location, gave it orders to drop altitude for final approach and basically directed it into the west side of Mt. Constance. The accident happened at night in total darkness and claimed the lives of all 16 onboard. Hope this helps, Cye

Click Here for more information on the 1975 crash

ACCIDENT DETAILS

Date: March 20, 1975
Time: c 23:00
Location: Near Quilcene, Washington
Operator: Military - U.S. Air Force
Flight #: ?
Route: Clark AFB - Japan
AC Type: Lockheed C-141A (L.300)
Registration: 64-0641
Aboard: 16 (passengers:? crew:?)
Fatalities: 16 (passengers:? crew:?)
Ground: 0

Summary: The aircraft struck a ridge of Mt. Constance in Olympic National Park. Faulty clearance by the ATC after misidentifying the C-141 as another aircraft.


Tull Canyon Crash in Buckhorn Wilderness area


The following links show some of the wreckage that is still there today.

Click Here for information on the wreckage.

This site has the complete story on the crash and what happen afterwards.

Click Here for information on the 1952 crash.

The following is some information picked from the two web sites on the crash.

In January of 1952, a search-and-rescue B-17 crashed deep in the rugged terrain of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. Five of the 8 crewmembers survived the harrowing descent down a mountainside.

AF 44-85746A was an SB-17G, a search-and-rescue variant of the venerable B-17 flying fortress. Unable to locate the ship, the aircraft, a converted B-17, was attempting to return to Seattle. It was returning from a search mission to locate survivors from a Korean airlift plane that had gone down near Sandspit, B.C........For one reason or another, the altimeter in the plane was off by more than 1500 feet. ......... In extreme turbulence and heavy blizzard conditions, the crew experienced sporadic failure of navigation and radio equipment. The plane was tossed up and down 800 feet by the severe winter weather. ....In a driving snow storm, unable to make out any land marks, and vectored too far south by the tower, the airplane flew right into the canyon slope,and ended up in a marsh at the canyon mouth.

Suddenly, the plane's port wing clipped trees near the top of a ridge.....The plane was slammed to the ground, ripping out the lower cockpit area and tearing off wing control surfaces. The plane bounced, crashing back to earth on its belly, knocking off engines and stripping away the external life boat slung underneath. The pilot was tossed out a hole in the cockpit and part of the plane slid over top of him, pressing him into the snow. The co-pilot was thrown into the turret compartment and made his way to the bomb bay. The flight engineer had been standing behind the co-pilot and was thrown to the floor of the cockpit and knocked unconscious.

Over the years, the wreckage has been picked pretty clean by souvenir hunters, but major pieces still set where they have for over 50 years



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