Bozeman, MT Plane Crash, Jan 1938


Big Liner Crashes North of Bozeman In Blinding Snow

First Time In 11 Years Northwest Airlines Has Lost Life of Passenger; Bodies Battered Beyond Recognition.

By William Hanlon
United Press Staff

BOZEMAN, Mont., Jan. 11. -- (UP) - Federal postal inspectors and officials of Northwest Airlines today released the bodies of 10 victims of a plane crash in Bridger canyon, 15 miles northeast of here, to Coroner HOWARD NELSON for removal to Bozeman.

The plane dived into a clearing last night in a blinding snowstorm, killing all its occupants.

NELSON said he expected it would take him and his deputies at least all day to bring the bodies out because of the drifting of deep snow, much of which fell during the night.

NELSON said he identified the bodies of two of the victims as Pilot NICK MAMER and Co-pilot FRED WEST, both of Seattle. The other bodies were so badly maimed and burned that identification was difficult, he said.

NELSON said an inquest probably will be held in Bozeman tonight after the bodies are brought down.

Sleds were waiting to haul the burned and broken bodies the three and one-half miles to the AFRED NICKLES ranch, from where they were to be driven to the Dowkken mortuary here.

In a level clearing of the forest, beyond the rugged, 10,000-foot peaks of Bridger mountains, the eastbound plane struck nose first with an impact that drove the fuselage into the motors and scattered its fragments in all directions. Instantly, the big Lockheed-Zephyr liner exploded.

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Bozeman 1938 crash

Thank you so very much for posting this very detailed account of the crash that killed my grandfather, Irven Stevenson (not JE, but IE). I have a trove of material from my grandmother - thinking there are some stories to tell here. Nick Mamer's daughter Patti became my mother's (Dorothy's) best friend after the death of their fathers. Until now I have found only sketchy accounts of the crash. The detail here brought the scene to life, and I confess, made me sad all over again that I never knew my mother's father other than in pictures and what he wrote. Thank you again - this websiteis a gem!

HEARTFELT GRATITUDE for posting this!

My grandfather Irven Stevenson was one of the 10. I inherited a boxful of newspaper clippings, but I have always wanted to find out more about this crash, as well as to learn more about the people involved. And here you have posted not only info about the people aboard the plane, but Montana eyewitnesses, salvage crew, and more - from several sources. Thank you ever so much! This website is a treasure.

-Roxanne Kenison, Seattle