Mt. Tobin, NV Marine Corps Plane Crashes, Jan 1968
BIG PLANE VANISHES IN NEVADA.
Battle Mountain, Nev. (UPI) -- A four-engine Marine Corps plane with 15 to 19 persons aboard was lost in a storm over the Nevada wilderness Wednesday night.
Air Force officials said the C54 craft apparently crashed after the pilot reported he was "dropping fast" with heavy icing on the wings.
Two search planes were turned back by darkness, but a ground party continued to search in the area where the plane lost radio contact, about 32 miles west of this northern Nevada community.
The Air Force at Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif., which was co-ordinating the search, said the plane was en route from Quantico (Va.) Marine Base to Seattle, Wash. It had made a refueling stop at Buckley Field, near Denver, Colo.
Radio contact with the C54 was lost at 1:50 p.m. PST (4:50 p.m. EST).
The Federal Aviation Agency said the pilot last radioed from 12,000 feet that the plane was "dropping fast." This was between Elko and Reno.
Nevada State Journal Reno 1968-01-12
SEARCHERS FIND PLANE; ALL 19 ABOARD DEAD.
REMOVAL OF BODIES SET TODAY.
Battle Mountain (UPI) -- The bodies of 12 members of a Marine combat instruction team, along with 7 crew members of their transport plane, were found Thursday in the Nevada wilderness.
A ground party which reached the scene of the plane crash said, "They didn't have a chance." The bodies were to be removed Friday from the side of 9.779-foot Mt. Tobin.
The C54 smashed into the desolate mountain area of Northern Nevada Wednesday. It apparently crashed near the top of the mountain and slid down 2,000 feet, according to the rescue unit which reached the area from a narrow mountain road.
A 13th passenger, Lance Cpl. ROBERT A. BEARD, en route home on leave, left the plane during a stop in Denver and flew home to Edmunds, Wash.
The plane, on a flight from Denver, Colo., to Seattle, Wash., was last heard from Wednesday afternoon when the pilot radioed it was "dropping fast" with heavy icing in its wings.
Marine officials said the passenters[sic] included a warfare presentation team on a 10-day tour of Western military bases to instruct U.S. servicemen on techniques of amphibious landings.
Early Thursday, 35 military and civilian aircraft, coordinated by Hamilton Air Force Base authorities, began criss-crossing the rugged terrain near Mt. Tobin, located 40 miles southwest of the town of Battle Mountain and 120 miles northeast of Reno.
At the report the wreckage had been sighted, two ground rescue teams were dispatched, one from Battle Mountain and one from Lovelock.
"We're going to have a rough time," said Pershing County Sheriff DAN HIGGINS. "We can't get all the way in on roads and we'll probably have a hard time getting the bodies out."
The rescue teams, traveling on foot and in four-wheel-drive trucks, packed medical supplies, food and radios for the trip up the mountain where nighttime temperatures recently have dropped below zero.
Military spokesmen said the plane took off Monday from Quantico, Va., and landed the same date at Buckley Air National Guard Station in Colorado.
The team gave a presentation at nearby Lowry A.F.B. Tuesday and left the base shortly before noon Wednesday bound for Seattle.
Last radio contact with the transport was five hours later when the icing condition developed at an altitude of 12,000 feet.
Nevada State Journal Reno 1968-01-13
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!