Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West



After completing bombing and gunnery practice at Tonopah AAF, NV, the crew of Douglas B-23 #39-052 took off on January 29, 1943, for the return trip to their base at McChord Field, Tacoma, WA.  Near Pendleton, OR, they encountered a severe snow storm and became lost.  With a broken radio, icing problems, and running low on fuel, they spotted frozen Loon Lake, ID, and decided to try a gear-up emergency landing.  Overshooting the lake, the aircraft skidded up the south shore and into the trees, shearing off both wings.  All 8 men on board survived the crash with minor injuries.  For 15 days, 3 of the crewmen hiked 42 miles through deep snow until they found help at a Forest Service station near McCall, ID.  The remaining 5 men stayed with the aircraft, surviving on squirrels, woodpeckers, and chocolate rations.  On the 16th day, local bush pilot Penn Stohr spotted the wreckage and landed his ski-equipped aircraft on the frozen lake to rescue them.  Site visited 8/31/14.



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