Point Barrow, AK Will Rogers and Wiley Post Die In Air Crash, Aug 1935

Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Will Rogers, photo from wikipedia.org Wiley Post Will Rogers Memorial at Point Barrow, AK, photo courtesy of familyoldphotos.com

WILL ROGERS, POST DIE IN CRASH.

PLANE PLUNGES FROM HEIGHT OF 50 FEET.

ALASKA FLIGHT OF FAMED MEN COMES TO END WHEN AMPHIBIAN'S MOTOR FAILS.

By Frank Daugherty
(United Press Staff Correspondent.)
(Copyright, 1935, by United Press)
Point Barrow, Alaska, Aug. 16 -- (UP) -- WILEY POST, 'round-the-world flyer, and WILL ROGERS, cowboy humorist, were killed at 8:18 p.m. Thursday (2:18 a.m. Friday E. D. T.) when their plane crashed 15 miles south of here.
The crash occurred as they were taking off from a native village where they had stopped when forced down by engine trouble and dense fog.
POST repaired his motor while they stopped for three hours and ate dinner with the Eskimos.
Plane's Motor Fails.
The motor again failed, the natives said, just as the plane took off from the river where it had landed, and the big ship crashed from an altitude of 50 feet to the tundra at the edge of the stream and broke up in the frozen moss hummocks.
Its right wing was broken and its engine was driven back into the cabin of the ship. The plane ground looped over on its back.
POST'S body was crushed by the motor. ROGERS was thrown out of the plane. Both apparently died instantly.
Roger's Watch Running.
The country surrounding the scene is almost as low as the river. The moss hummocks, partly frozen protrude from the water.
The plane crushed the hummocks when it crashed and rescuers worked in about two feet of water to extricate the bodies. POST'S body was completely submerged as he lay crushed and still beneath the tangle of the wreckage of the motor and controls.
POST'S watch on his wrist stopped at 8:18 p.m., which fixed the time of the wreck. ROGERS' watch was still running when Sergeant STANLEY MORGAN of the U. S. Signal Corps, and United Press correspondent reached the wreckage.
MORGAN and this correspondent had been notified by a native runner who came running terrified into Point Parrow with news of the tragedy.
Man Whale Boat.
They reached the scene in a motor whale boat manned by natives. ROGERS' body was found lying outside the plane. It was battered badly. It was necessary to pull the wreck to pieces to extricate POST'S body. Gasoline had spewed on the water and caught fire, flaming briskly for only a few moments.
The plane was demolished.
Bodies of the famous air duo were placed in the whale boat and brought here where they were taken to the Presbyterian Mission hospital by DR. HENRY GRIEST, its superintendent. They will be held here until the Coast Guard Cutter 'Northland' returns to take them to Nome. The 'Northland' left Point Barrow only yesterday after its annual summer visit when it brings a doctor, dentist, United States commissioner, and supplies for the government employes here. The 'Northland' probably will take the bodies to Nome, but perhaps to the States.
On Leisurely Trip.
POST, 'round-the-world record holder, and ROGERS, the humorist movie actor and famous air traveler, were on a leisurely trip around Alaska.
Originally they intended to visit Point Barrow several days ago, instead they flew from Aklavik, N.W.T., to Fairbanks and spent the interval visiting Central Alaskan points. They took off yesterday from Fairbanks and their arrival had been awaited at this farthest north outpost of civilization with keen anticipation by the few white persons here.
While natives and whites were struggling to beach the boat carrying the bodies here, an ink-stained piece of paper fell from ROGERS' pocket into the sea.
Picture of Daughter.
Unfolded, the soggy paper was discovered to be a rotogravture picture of ROGERS' daughter, MARY, vacationing in Maine.
One of the natives fell beneath the rollers which were used to beach the heavy whaling boat. He was crushed badly.
Stray bits of the plane wreckage caught in the current of the river on the bank of which the plane landed, and floated down into the Arctic ocean.
Son Rushes Home.
Los Angeles, Aug. 16 -- (UP) -- WILL, JR., 23-year-old son of WILL ROGERS, about to sail on a short cruise aboard an oil tanker, was sent rushing home to Beverly Hills today, but the report, "Some kind of an accident has happened to your father."
Washington, Aug. 16 -- (UP) -- Colonel CHARLES A. LINDBERGH may fly on a tragic mission to Alaska to supervise return of the bodies of WILL ROGERS and WILEY POST, killed in an airplane crash, advices today indicated.
While the capital mourned the deaths of the famous actor and the equally famous aviator, advices, to Assistant Secretary of Treasury STEPHEN B. GIBBONS indicated that a telephone conversation this afternoon would decide whether America's premier flier would undertake the mission.
Blow To Hollywood.
Hollywood, Aug. 16 -- (UP) -- The death of WILL ROGERS and WILEY POST was a tragic blow to Hollywood, and members of the film industry struggled to put their feelings into words today. ROGERS was regarded by all as the chief ambassador of the industry and the spokesman for every actor, grip, carpenter and underling.

The San Mateo Times California 1935-08-16