An army pack train from Camp Hale at Pando departed Tuesday from Rifle for the scene of the wreckage of a B-26 Medium bomber which crashed November 18, 1943, in the vicinity of Adams Lake, approximately 12 miles from Glenwood Springs. Discovery of the wreckage was made Thursday by Rufo Eisaguerrie, Rifle sheepman, along with an employee, who riding though the country on horseback.
The announcement of the discovery was made late Monday by Col. William D. Tipton, commandant at Peterson Field at Colorado Springs. The story revealing the first findings of the bomber had been make immediately following the discoveries, although details were not revealed until the army had notified the next of kin of the deceased fliers.
Mr. Elsaguerrie, along with his helper, first noticed burned tree stumps and scorched earth which they thought had resulted from lightning. Upon further investigation they found a wheel from the plane. Realizing what had happened they immediately telephoned authorities of their discovery and an investigation followed Saturday by army officials. J. I. Burdge of Glenwood Springs, acting as County Coroner, rode with the officials as far as car would allow, hiking the remainder of the way to the scene of the disaster. Upon arrival parts of the bomber were found scattered hundreds of yards apart, the plane having crashed at the base of a cliff.
Four billfolds, containing, as high as $150 were found in the vicinity, along with one identification tag. The Civil Air Patrol of Grand Junction, made a widespread search of the area of which the plane could have flown in its route from Salt Lake City, Utah to the Pratt Army Air Field in Kansas last November. Search for the missing plane was discontinued in December because of deep snow which had fallen by that time.
Floyd Gregg, instructor of the periodical schedules in Glenwood Springs, and a member of the civil air patrol, flew over the wreck scene during the week end.
Casualties aboard the plane included 1st Lt. D. R. Oakely, brother of Mrs. Ann Oakey Davis, Readville, Virginia ; 2nd Lt. Robert D. Stockbower, son of Richard Stockbower of Ridgwood, New Jersey ; 2nd Lt. Selwyn M Mozzini, son of Mrs. Alma E. Mozzini of Eureka, Calif. ; Sgt. Edward Spolnick, son of Jacob Spolnick of Wendell, Pennsylvania ; and Pfc. Ralph B Lane, Jr., son of Ralph B. Lane of Valdostaga.
The plane was on a routine flight and the last message received from it was 30 minute out of Salt Lake City the morning it crashed.
The five bodies of the crew are now at Camp Hale. They were transferred from the crash site Tuesday evening under direction of a detail of soldiers from the camp engineer detachment. Lt. Samuel L. Clark of the post engineer's office and Lt. William W. Garner, camp public relations officer, were in charge of the detail.