Down Near Here, Belief
Fort Collins Express Courier,
October 19, 1943
Sheriff Ray M. Barger announced at 2:30
p.m. today that Lowry field authorities informed him that
a B-17 bomber is missing. It may have carried a full
crew, the sheriff was informed.
The sheriff issued a warning to motorists not to drive
to the scene of the crash, in order to avoid creating
traffic congestion which would hamper Army vehicles in
their work. With stormy weather and bad road conditions
expected, he said, there is further reason for avoiding
Information relayed early this afternoon to the Express-Courier
by the Associated Press indicated that a plane vaguely
reported to have crashed late yesterday somewhere in or
near the northeastern tip of Rocky Mountain National
forest, may have been en route from Rapid City, S.D., to
Mrs. Albert Chandler, who lives on the Rockwell ranch
about 20 miles due west of Fort Collins, told the
sheriff's office here at 10:45 p.m. last night that a
plane, apparently flying low, passed over the ranch.
Shortly afterward, she said, she heard a violent
Lowry field authorities, from whom Sheriff Ray M.
Barger awaited word to indicate whether any planes were
missing from the field, told the Associated Press
"that the only information it has on a plane is that
it is supposed to be from Rapid City, S.D., and was
forced down." Further check was being made with
Rapid City, the AP reported.
No Fire Seen
Mr. and Mrs. Chandler drove their automobile along roads
near the ranch after hearing the explosion last night,
the sheriff was told. They were unable, however, to sight
any fire which might have resulted from a plane crash.
Early today, the sheriff said, other ranchers living
in the vicinity of Signal mountain, just outside the
northeastern edge of the national park, reported sighting
a smudge that might have indicated either a plane crash
or a hunter's abandoned campfire.
To Comb Area
Vernon Spencer of the J. Derby ranch and others told the
sheriff they would investigate the rugged and
inaccessible area by foot and horseback.
At Christman field here, Otis Massey, president of the
Massey and Ransom Flying service, stood by with the
sheriff awaiting more definite word from Lowry field. Mr.
Massey said the opportunity for scouting the national
park area with local planes was extremely limited, since
snow already was falling there and storm signals had been
Officers Seek Fliers'
Eight are Believed Dead in Bomber
Crash Near Signal Mountain
Fort Collins Express Courier, October 20,
Headed by Sheriff Ray M. Barger, a score
of men, including Army officers and soldiers from Lowry
field, left here at 5 a.m. today to reach the rugged
11,000 foot northeastern corner of Rocky Mountain
National park where an Army Flying Fortress bomber
crashed and burned Monday night, carrying at least five
and perhaps eight fliers to their deaths.
The sheriff's party planned to enter the nearly
inaccessible area four miles west of Signal mountain in
the region of the Mummy range, by horseback from the John
Derby ranch, just north of the crash scene along Pennock
Following the sheriff at noon today were two other
officers from Lowry field, who arrived to survey the
crash and determine plans for salvaging the wreckage.
Five Bodies Found
Five bodies were discovered late yesterday by Vernon
Spencer and Chris Hyatt, both ranchers, who entered the
area following early reports that a plane had crashed and
while Lowry field scouting planes flew overhead to sight
the wreckage. Authorities withheld names of the fliers
pending official notice to their families.
Lowry field officials announced today that eight men
were on the plane, a B-17 bomber, enroute to Denver from
the Rapid City, S.D. Army air base.
Besides the Army, Air force officers and soldiers, the
sheriff's party today included Ranger Norman Griswold of
the Roosevelt National forest office here and Deputy
County Coroner L.E. Butler of Loveland.
Barger said the plane's crash set a small forest fire
in the timbered region. The fire was reported controlled,
however, by a Forest service crew led by Chief Ranger J.
Barton Herschler from the Buckhorn ranger station,
several miles northeast of the crash.
Probably the only person to hear the bomber as it flew
toward the fatal mountain slope was Mrs. Albert Chandler,
living at the Rockwell ranch about 7 miles north of
Signal mountain. She reported at 10:15 p.m. Monday that a
plane flying extremely low passed over the ranch. Shortly
afterward she heard a violent explosion, but neither she
nor her husband were able to locate the fire from the
Early yesterday ranchers farther south spotted a
smudge and Spencer and Hyatt began their trek to the