FIVE KILLED AS B-17 HITS MOUNTAIN PEAK SOUTH OF TELEGRAPH PASS.
Gila Mountains, Ariz. -- Five men were killed early yesterday when a B-17 plane, returning to the Yuma army air field from a routine training flight, hit a peak in the Gila mountains 10 miles east of the field, it was announced at the field last night after a searching party returned with the bodies.Time of the accident was placed by officers at 1:52 a.m. The plane was blown to bits by an explosion which followed the crash, believed to have been caused by igniting of the plane's gasoline supply.A searching party from the field left soon after the accident was reported but required some hours to reach the scene in the rugged mountain terrain in which no vehicle could be operated. The crash occurred two miles south of Telegraph Pass.The Dead:2nd Lt. WILLIAM A. RICHELL, 22, pilot. Wife, Mrs. Nora A. Richell, Tonawanda, N.Y.2nd Lt. SHERIDAN B. MAREK, 20, co-pilot. Mother, Mrs. Martha M. Marek, Rt. 4, Temple, Texas.2nd Lt. ANGUS W. MacARTHUR, 21, co-pilot. Wife, Mrs.Patricia K. MacArthur, 106 S. Madison ave., Pasadena, Calif.Sgt. MANTEN P. JONES, 23, crew chief. Father, Charles P. Jones, 5069 Raphael, Los Angeles.Corp. MERLE G. ICE, 23, aerial engineer. Wife, Mrs. Louise F. Ice, 1013 N. Branson st., Marion, Indiana.
The Yuma Daily Sun Arizona 1944-06-29
I had heard about the B-17 Bomber crash site back in the 90's. After some searching and some inquiries I finally pin pointed the proper mountain valley where the plane crashed. I climbed solo all the way through the debris field to the top of the mountain where the impact occurred in the late 90's but had no camera with me. A recent acquaintance showed interest in seeing the site so we went off today in search of the site again.
John has a Russian built Ural sidecar rig which is suited for off road use. This was our conveyance to the base of the mountain to get into range of the climb.
Some of the approaches to the Gila Mountains are now posted as private property so the access in is limited. We found an open entrance to the land below the mountains and headed in. There are numerous roads in the area and finding the most direct route in was difficult. After a few miles of wandering we got into the general area where I remembered the site to be.
As we were about to give up the quest, a reflection up the gorge caught our eyes. Sure enough it was a large piece of aluminum from the aircraft frame. Below the small piece of wreckage was a large white cross, white washed onto the rocks. I had read that someone had marked the locations of where the airman's bodies were found. This was the first of the five markers.
A fairly large section of aircraft aluminum skin.
An engine super charger. Three of them were in the general vicinity.
Remains of a Radial Engine. Some of the cylinders were missing, attesting to the violent trip down the mountain and the initial impact.
Another large section of aluminum skin:
One of the aircraft's landing gear assemblies.
Landing gear strut.
A piece of the wing, where the landing gear attaches.