Historic Plane Crash In Wyoming 66 Years Ago This Week
66 years ago - this week - a Douglas DC-4 propliner, registration N30062, crashed into Medicine Bow Peak, near Laramie, Wyoming, on October 6, 1955.
All 66 people on board, passengers and crew, died.
United Airlines Flight 409 departed from Denver to Salt Lake City. The flight was supposed to be 83 minutes. The assigned path the airliner was expected to fly Denver to Laramie, and then follow various waypoints to Salt Lake City.
The flight was operating under what is called VFR, [Visual Flight Rules] and was assigned a cruising altitude of 10,000 feet because the plane was not pressurized.
There was no radar in the region in 1955 so a scheduled 8:11 a.m. check-in was expected when flight 409 crossed Rock Springs. But it was not received.
From Cheyenne, Wyoming the Air National Guard sent out a two-seat T-33 Shooting Star. The pilot and his observer spotted a black stain and wreckage at 11:40 a.m. on Medicine Bow Peak. Turbulence kept away and they had to return to their base in Cheyenne.
Rescuers fought snowdrifts and a howling wind at 12,005 feet. Two huge patches of oil could be seen where the plane's engines apparently struck. The wreckage then slid down the steep incline in two ravines, most came to rest 300 feet down on a small glacier.
After the cleanup of a horrific accident, in October of 1955, of a passenger plane crashing into Medicine Bow Peak in Wyoming soldiers from the Wyoming National Guard used a recoilless rifle to bring down the wreckage that was lodged into the mountain to discourage curiosity seekers. But today, decades later, an average hiker can still take the trails to the top of Medicine Bow Peak and look down on a few pieces that are still left.
In the second video, below, a hiker tells you what he thinks it all means.