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TreyB

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Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 273
 #1 
I updated my website with a B-17 crash from June of 1944, 20 miles east of Yuma, Arizona in the Gila Mountains. The bomber was on a night flight and preparing to land when they let down too low and too soon, impacting high on a mountain ridge. Here is the link- http://www.aircraftarchaeology.com/Yuma%20Telegraph%20Pass%20B-17%20Crash.htm

Trey
DaveTrojan

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Registered: 12/31/06
Posts: 1,677
 #2 
Trey, It looks like you spent some time there searching for stuff. Good finds.
I know the family members are interested in the site. Here is a picture of the memorial at the site. and part of Article from the Yuma newspaper last year
DaveT

 

Visiting B-17 crash site at Telegraph Pass

BY JOHN VAUGHN - BAJO EL SOL EDITOR

2010-09-27 09:13:25

If you happen to be among the real avid hikers who don’t mind some climbing over rugged ground, might I suggest the site of a World War II-era crash of a B-17 bomber on a mountain just south of Interstate 8 at Telegraph Pass. You’ll need to wear sturdy boots and watch where you step, but more on that later.

The Army Air Corps bomber, which had been stationed in Yuma, had been on some sort of training flight when it slammed into the third peak over from what is now the interstate, shortly before 2 a.m. in June 1944.

All five crew members were killed. An archived newspaper story at the time said the fireball could be seen in Yuma.

The crash site was about two-thirds up the side of the mountain, and some friends and I made two hikes up to see it, the first in 2001. The remains of the airmen, of course, had been recovered immediately, but I was struck my how much of the plane’s wreckage remained and how well it had stood up to the elements after nearly 60 years.

I picked up a few hunks and shards of aluminum, figuring to bring back a souvenir from my visit. But in the following days, I felt a little bad about having done so, feeling like I had just robbed a grave or a shrine.

I went on to write a couple of columns about the crash for The Yuma Sun’s website, then put it out of my mind.

Until about a half-year later when I got an e-mail from one Fred Richell, resident of New York state. His older brother William had been on the bomber, and Fred had come across one of my columns while seeking information about the crash on the internet.

So I called up Fred and we got to talking. Fred wanted to know about the crash site, never having seen it, so I told him as much as I could remember from my visit. I mentioned to Fred while I had him on the line, I had these tiny airplane pieced that I picked up at the scene  and ... would Fred by any chance want them, for sentimental value or any other reason?

Well as matter of fact, Fred said, he would. So I sent them off to Fred and called him a few days later for our interview.

I wrote the column, all the time wishing I could find the relatives of the other crash victims in order to know and write their stories.

The second time I visited the site was early 2002, and maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed like the scene had been picked over by souvenir hunters. Of course, there were some huge, heavy pieces of airplane wreckage that a person could not physically carry off that mountain, and they may still be there.

I recall some boulders were marked with large whitewashed crosses, showing about where the impact occurred. There was a steel plate at the site that had been fashioned into a plaque honoring the airmen. I don’t know if that came from the plane itself or whether it was made from a separate piece of steel brought up to the site, but I hope it’s still there.

I’m also told at the very top of the mountain is a shrine made to honor the airmen, although I never climbed far enough up to see it.


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