Yosemite National Park, CA Airliner Crash, Mar 1938

AIRLINER DISAPPEARS -- NINE ABOARD.

TRANSPORT MISSING SINCE LAST NIGHT IN HIGH SIERRAS.

FALSE REPORT OF SAFE LANDING BRANDED BY AIRLINE OFFICIALS AS 'CRUELEST HOAX EVER PERPETRATED'; HUNT DIFFICULT.

San Francisco, March 2. -- (UP) -- Transcontinental & Western Air headquarters announced it had received a message purportedly from United Airlines at Fresno saying the missing TWA plane had been found, but that investigation disclosed the message was "one of the cruelest hoaxes ever perpetrated." The plan was still missing, TWA said.
United Airlines offices in San Francisco and Fresno denied any of their men had sent the message. TWA officials said the message was telephoned from Fresno by someone who said he was a United Airline employe. The flash message said the plane was found 20 miles from Fresno with "several passengers injured but everybody alive."

Fresno, Cal., March 2. -- (UP) -- A pelting rainstorm today handicapped search for a Transcontinental & Western Air transport plane with nine aboard which disappeared Tuesday night in the snow-covered mountians east of Fresno.
Fears increased hourly that the ship had crashed.
TWA officials, however, said they had not given up hope.
The plane, with six passengers and three crew, left San Francisco airport at six-thirty (seven-thirty
Ogden time) last night for Winslow, Ariz., but later was ordered to Los Angeles because of stormy weather.
The storm became so intense over the Tehachapi mountains, separating central and southern California, that Captain JOHN D. GRAVES, chief pilot, was forced back. He radioed at eight thirty-three he was heading for Fresno. He never got there.
Last definite news of the craft came from Mrs. C. G. Landry at the Edison company power house at Huntington lake, 45 miles northeast of Fresno. She reported she saw the plane at nine-twenty p.m. flying at 500 feet down the San Joaquin river.
Search was concentrated in the Sierra Nevadas east of Fresno.
The rainstorm prevented search from the air and forced searchers to use automobiles.
One party, headed by Herbert Stancil, Fresno manager of TWA , was fighting its way to the Huntington lake area.
The general search was directed by TWA and government officials who came to Fresno by automobiles from San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Those aboard the plane were:
Passengers:
MR. and MRS. L. D. WALTS, San Francisco.
V. KRAUSE, San Francisco.
JAY TRACY DIRLAM and MARY LOUISE DIRLAM, Stanford university students.
M. H. SALISBURY, a company pilot.
Crew:
Captain JOHN D. GRAVES, chief pilot, Palo Alto, Cal.
C. W. WALLACE, co-pilot, Tucson, Arizona.
MISS MARTHA MAE WILSON, hostess, formerly
of Philadelphia.
The plane was on the San Francisco-Winslow shuttle run of TWA which connects at Winslow with the company's trans-continental route between Los Angeles and New York.
GRAVES is a former army pilot. He won fame in 1932 as the pilot who located and dropped food to a party of snowbound Indians in northern Arizona who were on the verge of starvation.
Harold Bromley, noted flier, now Fresco inspector for the bureau of aeronautics, said visibility in the Fresno area was practically zero because of the downpour.
The rain started Tuesday night and continued incessantly today.
The plane, a twin-motored Douglas, had gasoline to last only until midnight.
When the ship left San Francisco airport the clouds were at 6,000 to 7,000 altitude. This was considered ample ceiling for safe flying.

Ogden Standard Examiner Utah 1938-03-02

----------------------------------------------------------------

U. S. NAMES AIR CRASH PROBE BOARD.

BODIES OF NINE DEAD ARE BROUGHT TO FRESNO FROM YOSEMITE PEAK.

INQUEST IS HELD: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATION WILL START JUNE 21st.

Fresno today gave refuge to the bodies of the three women and six men lost nearly four months agao in swirling mountain snows aboard a luxury airliner which had sought in vain to make a safe landing here.
Their broken bodies, wrapped in canvas, were brought here after a cortege had wound its way sixteen miles by weird early morning light down the silent slopes of Buena Vista Crest in the Yosemite National Park. Henry O. Collier, youthful Fresno packing house worker, had stumbled upon the wrecked plane and its victims.
The ship had crashed the night of Marh 1st.
While the flickering flashlights of the crew ere picking out the rocks and snow drifts on the mountain death trap. Secretary of Commerce Daniel C. Roper at Washington, D.C., named a special board to investigate the crash and ordered its members to proceed at once to the scene.
With Collier as the only witness a coroner's jury sitting beside the strewn wreckage of the Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc., plane yesterday returned a verdict of accidental death.
Roper's special board is scheduled to hold public hearings on or about June 21st, contingent upon completion of the investigation at the wreck. The place of the hearings will be announced later.
The scene of the crash was erroneously identified by Collier as on Buena Vista Peak, a 9,770 foot spire. Rangers led to the scene by Collier later identified the spot as on Buena Vista Crest, a 9,425 foot formation a mile from the peak.
Only three bodies were identified at the scene. They are H. M. SALISBURY, a TWA pilot flying as a passenger; Pilot JOHN GRAVES and Stewardess MARTHA M. WILSON. Clothing and other effects are clues to the identity of the others.
A red smock worn by the stewardess was sighted within the shattered cabin of the $85,000 luxury airliner to attract attention to the ninth body. The others were thrown clear of the plane as it flew to bits in cutting a swath 200 yards long throgh trees, snow and boulders before boring into the mountainside.
The passengers had died instantly.
Had the plane gained but 200 feet more altitude it would have cleared the crest and GRAVES would have had unobstructed escape into the San Joaquin Valley in a northwesterly direction.

The Fresno Bee Republican California 1938-06-14

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1938 YOSEMITE TWA PLANE CRASH

I HAVE A GREAT COLLECTION OF ARTIFACTS FROM THIS
TWA FLIGHT #327 PLANE CRASH.

A VISIT TO THE TWA MUSEUM IN KANSAS CITY, MO.
HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE LATER PRT OF JULY 2009.

THE 24 YEAR OLD FRESNO RESIDENT THAT FOUND THE CRASH IN ONLY SIX DAYS
WAS H. O. COLLIER.

MR. COLLIER WROTE AN UNPUBLISHED BOOK ABOUT HIS JOURNEY DURING HIS SEARCH FOR THE TWA CRASH SITE IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL FOREST.

IN THIS COLLECTION:

I HAVE THE ORIGINAL TWA PILOT'S HAT OF HARVEY M. SALIBURY THAT H.O. COLLIER USED AS PROOF TO THE CHIEF RANGER OF YOSEMITE, F.S. TOWNSLEY THAT HE IN FACT, FOUND THE WRECKAGE.

ALSO,
MANY BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS OF THE WRECKAGE SITE
TAKEN BY YOSEMITE'S PHOTOGRAPHER CAL WILLETT.

MANY LETTER'S THAT WERE SENT TO H.O. COLLIER FROM THE
FAMILIES INVOLVED, TWA & YOSEMITE OFFICIALS ETC.

THE ORIGINAL TWA $1000.00 REWARD CHECK STUB.

H.O. COLLIERS FIELD MAP & IMPLIMENTS USED TO NAVIGATE.

PLANE WRECKAGE ITEMS.

ETC.

( PLEASE SEE PHOTOS )

ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE CONTACT US

VARIETYANTIQUES@HOTMAIL.COM

1938 TWA CRASH ARTIFACTS NATIONAL NEWS AGAIN 71 YEARS LATER.

GOOGLE SEARCH: DRAMA TWA ARTIFACTS HOSKIN -

THE KCSTAR STORY REPORTED BY MATT CAMPBELL. JULY 25TH. 2009

AFTER REVIEWING THE COLLECTION OF ARTIFACTS INCLUDING: H.M. SALISBURY FIRST OFFICER'S PILOT CAP, H.O. COLLIERS FIELD MAP, & TWA'S REWARD CHECK STUB, PHOTOS, NEWS CLIPPINGS ,CORRESPONDENCE LETTERS, ETC. FROM THIS EXACT 1938 TWA PLANE CRASH WITH KANSAS CITY MISSOURI AIRLINE HISTORY MUSEUM 'S FOUNDER LARRY BROWN AND P.R. DIRECTOR CLIFF HALL THIS PAST JULY 2009.

NOW IT IS AGAIN, NATIONAL NEWS, 71 YEARS LATER.

NOW MY PLAN IS TO PUBLISH THIS AMAZING STORY ( IN BOOK FORM ) ABOUT HOW I FOUND THIS GREAT COLLECTION AND THE ACTUAL MANUSCRIPT OF H.O. COLLIERS' ADVENTURE ON HOW HE HAD A HUNCH OF WHERE IT WAS AND FOUND THE CRASH SITE IN ONLY SIX DAYS. A TASK THAT SEVERAL PROFFESIONAL SEARCH PARTIES COULDN'T ACCOMPLISH IN OVER THREE MONTHS.

WHAT A GREAT PIECE OF EARLY COMMERCIAL AVIATION HISTORY.

E-MAIL ANY HELPFUL HINTS AND / OR QUESTIONS TO BOB HOSKIN AT
VARIETYANTIQUES@HOTMAIL.COM

1938 PILOT HAT COLLECTION VISITS PBS PROGRAM:- ANTIQUES ROADSHOW

ON JUNE 20TH. 2010 MY 13 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER AND I WENT TO
THE FILMING OF THE PBS SERIES ANTIQUES ROADSHOW IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

WE TOOK THE TWA PILOT HAT & COLLECTION THAT HO COLLIER USED TO PROVE TO THE CHIEF RANGER OF
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, THAT HE FOUND THE 1938 TWA FLIGHT #327 WRECKAGE & PASSENGERS.

AFTER PATIENTLY WAITING IN SEVERAL LINES, WE SPOKE WITH AN APPRAISER (WE'VE SEEN ON TV SEVERAL TIMES ) IN THE "COLLECTIBLES" CATAGORY. AFTER EXAMINING THE COLLECTION HE SAID THAT AS A LARGE GROUPING AND THE SIGNIFICANTS OF THE CRASH ALONG WITH IT BEING A KEY FACTOR IN THE DESIGN OF THE AUTOMATIC DISRESS SIGNAL
STILL USED TODAY, THAT A CONSERVATIVE $6,000.00 VALUE WOULD BE FAIR. MY DAUGHTER AND I LOOKED AT EACH OTHER IN DISBELIEF AND CHUCKLED. WE WOULDN'T CONSIDER SELLING BECAUSE WE HAVE BIGGER AND BETTER PLANS FOR THIS WONDERFUL LINK TO EARLY COMMERCIAL AVIATION.

WE HAD A GREAT TIME AND A REAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR BOTH MY DAUGHTER AND I.
WE DIDN'T GET CHOSEN TO FILM IT & SHOW IT OFF, BUT YOU MIGHT CATCH US ON THE FEEDBACK PORTION AT THE END OF EACH SHOW.

THE SAN DIEGO EPISODES WILL BE AIRED IN JANUARY 2011

Redlands man has collection documenting 1938 TWA fatal plane cra

REDLANDS DAILY FACTS - KRISTINA HERNANDEZ January 5th. 2013

Every weekend, many scour through yard sales in hopes of uncovering antique treasures.

One Sunday morning in 2009, area resident Bob Hoskin uncovered something not seen in decades — a cedar chest containing accounts of the 1938 Yosemite Transcontinental and Western Air plane crash.

Only he didn’t know it at the time.

The contents were uncovered off Buena Vista Street here in town nearly 71 years after the crash claimed the lives of the nine on board. The wreckage was discovered by a 23-year-old Fresno fruit packer and part-time gold prospector, H.O. Collier III, buried in the snow of Buena Vista Crest in Yosemite.

The yard sale was run by Collier’s daughter, who lived in town.

“I was the first person there,” Hoskin said. “This lady was dragging out a cedar chest, so I helped her put it where she wanted it and asked if I could go through it. I opened it up and there was a bunch of paperwork, (but) among (it all) there was a little cardboard box, and in this cardboard box this hat was sitting upside down.”

That hat belonged to one of the crash victims — M. H. Salisbury, an off-duty TWA pilot who was returning home to Kansas City.

“I know that sometimes these hat badges can be valuable, so I turned (the hat) up and knew I had something,” Hoskin said.

He paid for the chest and its contents and hit a few more yard sales before settling down for the day. Once settled, he dove further into the chest.

Inside he uncovered photos of the crash site by photographers capturing a search party that Collier led through the park to find the wreckage, two leather-bound magazines — a Reader’s Digest and Liberty Magazine — commonly found on TWA planes, and a handwritten account of Collier’s experience.

The plane had taken off on March 1, 1938, from San Francisco for Winslow, Ariz. California was in the midst of one of its most severe storms in more than 60 years, causing the plane to be rerouted from its original destination.

According to reports, the plane crew had radioed their intention to land in Fresno, but they never made it. Reports said the plane was off course, causing it to get caught in the severe storm and crash land into Yosemite at speeds up to 200 mph.

Three months went by before Collier discovered the wreckage after TWA President Jack Frye offered a reward of $1,000.

Dozens joined the search efforts, including Collier, who left his job on June 7 and headed toward Yosemite. He found the wreckage on June 12.

The bodies of the nine victims — Salisbury, pilot John D. Graves, First Officer Clyde W. Wallace, stewardess Martha Mae Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Walts of San Francisco, Mr. V. Krause and Stanford University students Jay Tracy Dirlam and Mary Louise Dirlam.

Eight were thrown from the 12 passenger DC-2 at impact, said Hoskin. Wilson was found inside the wreckage.

As Collier stumbled upon the wreckage, he made sure to grab a hat lying near the plane and a briefcase to bring back with him. Why? For proof, Hoskin explained.

Collier received a reward of $1,000 for his efforts.

Hoskin’s collection includes the stub from the check received from TWA officials, and a letter asking Collier to return the hat to the company. Collier ignored the request.

“He became a local hero. He was the man for six weeks, and was back to being a normal guy some time after that,” Hoskin said.

Hoskin, who owns and operates Variety Antiques in the area, has no intention of selling the collection.

Though he had the items appraised — items could fetch thousands for Hoskin’s pocketbook — he opted to go a different route.

He wants to instead tell Collier’s story, and is currently reaching out to television networks to make it a reality.

He talked with relatives of Collier to get their stories about the man born on June 25, 1914, and served in the Marine Corps in World War II. He died months before his 91st birthday on March 3, 2005. He is buried at Riverside National Cemetery, and Hoskin believes he lived in Redlands for a time.

He received permission from Collier’s family to share his story and the contents he uncovered, which included headlines from newspapers up north that had covered the crash and the events that followed.

Rejection letters Collier received from magazines of the time are also in the collection.

“(His story) was never published. He had tried for several years to get his story out there. And after reading (the rejection letters) it touched a soft spot in my heart — I wanted to preserve that history in his honor,” Hoskin said. “What people don’t realize is this crash was very detrimental to our aviation history because at that point all they used was radio signals ... and when the plane crashed, they were on their own. There wasn’t any way of finding them. And another pilot with a different airliner got tired of that. ... He wanted to do something about it, so he invented the homing beacon.”

Newspaper articles and history books document that pilot’s story, but Collier’s still remains relatively unknown.

Hoskin is hoping to change that — and allow fans or those seeking information on aviation history to unearth a new story.

“It’s not about the money,” he said. “It’s about bringing the historical point of this story that this guy — literally — risked his life and went out in the wilderness by himself in the middle of winter to bring closure.

“I’ll never sell the collection. Am I trying to sell the story? Absolutely. I’m only trying to sell the story to get it out there and expose it for Collier.”