Knight, UT Plane Crashes in Mountains, Oct 1937 - Airliner Located

Wrecked Airliner Located

Fear Is Expressed 19 Aboard Perished

Big Transcontinental Plane of United Airlines Forced Down Near Utah-Wyoming Boundary Line Last Night During Storm; Searching Parties Pushing Their Way Toward Scene of Crash.

Salt Lake City, Oct. 18-(UP)-A west-bound United Airlines transport carrying 19 passengers and a crew of three crashed among the rugged peaks near the Utah-Wyoming border during a storm last night, the air line announced today.

The wreckage was sighted from the air by Robert Bergeson and William Williams, pilots for the United Airlines, during a checkup of territory where a shepherd reported hearing what he though was a plane in distress last night.

The big transport was down at an altitude of 10,000 feet at a point 26 miles south of Knight, Utah.

Bergeson and Williams could not land at the scene and were unable to determine whether any of the occupants of the wrecked plane had survived. They landed at Knight and started organizing ground searching parties. The scene of the accident is accessible only by mountain trails over which only pack horses can be used. Scouts reported that it may take several hours to reach the plane and determine the fate of the 19 aboard when it crashed, when within 50 miles from its port here.

A heavy snow was falling in the mountain area at midmorning and this may further impede the progress of the searching parties on the ground.

Announcement of the fact that the plane had crashed was made by Major R.W. Schroeder, United Airlines operations manager here. He would not comment on rumors circulating here that the plane had burned.

The searching party from Knight headed north up the valley in the Porcupine Mountain range. Another ground party set out from Evanston, Wyo. This party was headed by Walter Cowing of the Wyoming Times and proceeded westward by automobile over muddy roads. This group planned to use horses on the last stage of its trek.

Bergeson’s radio message was : “Have found ship 12 to 15 miles south-southeast Chalf Peak. You (United Airlines office) will have to come in from Knight to south in valley. Am landing at Knight make arrangements horses and wagons.

Announce Passenger List.

In Chicago, the United Airlines released the following passenger list:
John Conbly, Cleveland, United Airlines reservation clerk.
Louis Cleaver, Portland, Ore., a co-pilot on company business.
Charles Renque, Pittsburg.
George Ferreira and Mrs. Ferreira, of Cheyenne, Wyo.
Ralph McKeown, Glendale, Cal.
W. Pitt, New York.
J. Pergola, New York.
D.A. McMillan, Murray, Utah.
Dr. L. Cross, New York.
Mrs. J. Hammer, Cleveland.
W.J. Hart, Sharon, Pa.
Mrs. C. Pritchett, Washington, D.C.
William Pischell, Salt Lake City.
Miss C.A. Jensen, San Francisco
Charles Jamison, Denver.

Crew:
Pilot Earl Woodgerd, Cheyenne.
Co-Pilot John Adams, Denver.
Stewardess Leah Derr, Cheyenne.

The plane left Newark yesterday morning. It made stops at Cleveland, Chicago, Omaha, Denver, and Cheyenne. After leaving here, it would have stopped at Reno, Sacramento and San Francisco. It left Cheyenne, Wyo., at 5:26 p.m. (7:26 p.m., CST) yesterday and was due here at 8:12 p.m. (9:42 p.m., CST). From over Rock Springs, Wyo., exactly on schedule and only 28 minutes flying time away, it reported all well.

Squally weather had been reported between here and Rock Springs. There was a violent rainstorm. The weather here throughout the night was fairly good, though a light fog hung over the airport.

Searching parties were organized immediately. Major R.W. Schroeder, vice president of United Airlines, and R.T. Frenz, the lines director of flying, took off from Burbank, Calif., upon receipt of the news and were en route here to take charge.

Pilot D. Woodgerd’s last report said:

“Over Rock Springs. 1,000 feet. Intermittent instruments. (I.e., he found in necessary to fly by instruments part of the time). On Rock Springs range, Compass 248, temperature 35. Aid slightly rough.”

Salt Lake City radioed him a weather report. He acknowledged it. That was his last word.

Logansport Pharos Tribune, Logansport, IN 18 Oct 1937