October 26, 1948

Tail Number 83710




Unknown Newspaper
Volume 59 No. 44   Glenwood Springs, Colo. Thursday , October 28, 1948 Twelve Pages

Lowry Based B-17 Crashed At Haystack Mountain Early Tuesday; All Four Crew Members Rescued

Four crew members of a B-17, which crashed on Haystack Mountain around 2:15 Tuesday morning, were found injured but safe, by rescue units after they had bailed out of their plane to safety. One of the crew members, S Sgt. James L. Helms, the plane's radio operator, was found a short while after the plane crash when a group of hunters hear his cries for help; the remaining three members of the crew were not found until mid-afternoon Tuesday, and were uninjured with the exception of the co-pilot Stewart L. Ackerman, who sustained a broken ankle.

Sgt. Helms, suffering from bruises caused by his parachute, and exposure, was brought into Glenwood to the Glenwood Springs Clinic for treatment. The other three men were taken immediately to Lowry Field by plane for treatment. The crew in addition to Lt. Ackerman and Sgt. Helms, was comprised of the pilot, 1st Lt. William H McQuinnland the engineer, S/Sgt. Edward Cook.

The missing men were discovered by a ground rescue unit sent from Lowry Field, headed by Lt. Lloyd Mosher. They were found safe in a hunting camp.

The Lowry Field stationed B-17, which belonged to an Air Rescue Operations Unit was enroute from Hamilton Field, Calif. to its home base, crashed at Haystack mountain located at the head of Middle Thompson and Divide Creek Tuesday.

According to a report from Cran Rader Jr., operator of the Glenwood Springs Municipal airport, in searching for the plane on Tuesday he discovered three of the parachutes. One from the air, located about a block from the wreckage, look as though it had been wrapped around a body, with a hunter standing guard. the other two chutes, located about three-fourths of a mile from the wreckage, were open, but Rader could not determine whether there was anyone nearby or not. The Glenwood pilot discovered the plane wreckage about thirty minutes after it had been reported to him.

Ground Party Sent Out

A ground party organized out of Silt, Divide Creek and Rifle, had been sent up to look for the missing men. They were accompanied to the spot where Sgt. Helms was located, by the two hunters who found him.

Plane rescue units from Lowry Field and Hamilton Field were sent to this area to aid in the search for the missing men.

A C-47, piloted by L. M. Palmer, and one of a Search and Rescue unit from Biggs Field, El Paso, Tex. were among the planes brought into this area for the search. The plane carried a crew of five, the pilot, two radiomen and two other crewmen. It left this airport Wednesday morning for its home base by way of Lowry Field.

Earlier in the day a C-47, piloted by Capt. W. A. Thrasher of the Air Evacuation Command at Lowry Field had arrived at the local airport to take Harold Wickham, an automobile accident patient at Porters hospital, back to Ft. Logan hospital for medical treatment. Thraser was accompanied by Capt. J. A. Ragan and Lt. S. A. Pizarka.

According to Sgt. Helms the plane ran into trouble about 2:45 a.m. today. Three of the engines were gone, there was a fuel starvation and the radio was dead.

The four men decided to bail out, with Sgt. Helm being the last man to leave, and he was unable to see where the other three men landed.

The B-17 was making a routine training flight from Hamilton Field, Calif. to Lowry Field in Denver. It was scheduled to arrive at the Denver field at 3 a.m. Tuesday, and had left Hamilton at 10:01 p.m. Monday.

Before the plane had run out of gas, the radio had gone dead, and the last contact they had been able to make was with Ogden, Utah.

Sgt. Helm also reported that although he did not see the plane hit the ground, he saw it explode.

The Plane was demolished. -end-


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