Skip to Content

Great Sitkin Island, AK Plane Crashes Into Mountainside, Sep 1959


No Sign Of Survivors Seen From Air.

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) -- An airliner carrying 16 persons crashed and caught fire last night on an Aleutian island peak. A search pilot radioed he saw no sign of life at the scene.
The Reeves Aleutian Airlines DC4 piled into a mountainside at the 2,000-foot level on Great Sitkin Island, 24 miles northeast of its destination at Adak Island.
A navy pilot who sighted wreckage 40 minutes after the crash reported the plane was afire but that the tail section seemed intact.
Later, BOB REEVE, president of the airline, flew over the wreck scene and reported there was no sign of survivors.
An official who declined use of his name said the situation "looked pretty grim."
The navy tug Apache reached the island with a ground party this morning. There was delay in reaching the crash scene over rugged terrain. The coast guard dispatched the cutter Clover from Adak.
The DC4, enroute from Anchorage on a flight that serves sommunities and military bases along the Aleutian island chain, carried five crewmen, two civilians and nine military men -- seven air force, one army and one navy.
The crew members, all of Anchorage, were EUGENE STROUSE, pilot; ROBERT POLLOM, copilot; BRYAN GREEN, flight engineer; and LORRAINE HENDERSON and BETTY BURKE.
STROUSE'S father, O. B. STROUSE, lives at Topeka, Kan.
Names of the two civilians and the nine military men were not released immediately.
Reeves officials said there was no word of trouble from the pilot before the crash. The DC-4 had started its approach to the Adak field when the pilot radioed his last routine report at about 5:15 p.m. (11:45 p.m. EST).
Sitkin, one of many volcanic islands, is more than 1,700 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Communications to Adak failed part of the morning, delaying word of search operations.

Daily Sitka Sentinel Alaska 1959-09-25


My father was also in the

My father was also in the ground party that went to the crash site on Great Sitkin Island. He talked about seeing bowling balls on the ground. He worked in the post office and was sent to retrieve mail.


Mr. Ramos,
I'm extremely humbled that your father and others risked their lives to assist in the rescue efforts. I didn't realize just how dangerous the conditions were. Can you tell me, does he know of any pictures of the crash? I (Grandaughter to Co Pilot, Robert L Pollom) am trying to locate one but am not having any luck.

It's nice to connect with others who were impacted by this terrible tragedy. I read that Eugene Strouse was "widely known among Fairbanks airmen and was considered second in command to Bob Reeves." I would love to hear more about other crew members, passengers, and ground crewmen. My condolences to all the families.

Just curious, did your

Just curious, did your Grandmother or anyone in your family know my Grandfather, Robert Pollom (Co-Pilot)? We would like to talk to somebody who knew him.


We lived across the street from the Strouse family and we knew them quite well. I was in highschool at the time. My father worked for the CAA (now the FAA) then and he was one of the first accident investigators on the scene. Talk about tough duty. He has on occasion talked about helping to remove remains of his friend from the crash sight.
Ironically, Bob Pollom's wife was one of my teachers at Anchorage High as I recall.

If I remember correctly, the crash was thought to have occurred because the pilot suffered a stroke.

My grandfather was Eugene

My grandfather was Eugene Strouse. It was a great loss to loose all those men on that flight. My heart goes out to their families. I sure appreciate the efforts of the ground crew in trying to locate any survivors.

Great Sitkin Island plane crash Sept. 1959

My husband's father was one of the civilians aboard that plane when it crashed. Does anyone out there have more information about the ground crew and the recovery? Any photos of the wreckage?

the tugboad capsized and he

the tugboad capsized and he saved a Fellow Serviceman, I believe a Navy Corpsman, from drowning. He mentioned that the swim was very difficult due to the Water was numbing cold and the Sailor was hurt.

My grandfather was Robert

My grandfather was Robert Pollom. What was the delay that they failed to mention? Your father was a hero and we sincerely appreciate his efforts.

my father was on

Just wanted to let everybody k now that my father talks about this incident quite often. He was on the ground party going ashore. The article fails to mention of the delay. The boat he was on capsized and he almost lost his life. He was a hero on more than one way on this day.

article | by Dr. Radut