B25 Crashes While On Fire Fighting Mission


SHERIFF'S OFFICE, LOS ANGELES COUNTY - COMPLAINT REPORT

Date:July 23, 1960

Informant: SGT. LIPPERT

Victim:

#1 - ARMSTRONG, James

#2 - FRANCO, Charles

#3 - BOWMAN, John

Location: Mill canyon, 2-3/4 mile south of Ravena

At 9:34 AM on July 22, 1960, Sgt. Lippert of Palmdale Airport Police called re: unknown type of airplane down in the Magic Mountain Fire area. The plane was water bombing the fire and crashed at an unknown location.

Following notifications were immediately made: Acting Captain Parnell responded to the north fire area near Ravena, Sgt. Everly of the Aero detail, Sgt. Fain and Mr. James of Sheriff's Press room and local press and radio.

At approximately 9:45 AM it was learned that the plane was a B-25 used for water bombing and was down in Mill Canyon approximately 2-3/4 miles south of Ravena, with no survivors. Due to fire conditions, it was impossible to reach the plane at this time.

At 5:00 AM, July 23, 1960, a command post was set-up at the Columbo Ranch, approximately one-mile south of Acton Camp.

At 6:30 AM, Capt. Griggers and Sgt. Cooper of the Aero Detail arrived, assisted by two Marine Corps helicopters, who were on standby in case evacuation of ground crew was necessary due to the fire. Victims 1 and 2 were flown to the command post by Capt. Griggers at 8:15 AM and picked up by the mortuary at 8:30 AM. Victims 1 and 2 are tentatively identified as listed. Victim 3 is the owner of the aircraft and employer of the victims. Sgt. Cooper identified the aircraft as a B-25, serial no. N-3446G.

On return of the ground crew at 10:30 AM, posse Captain Jack Bones stated that the plane was apparently flying up the canyon southeast upon crashing. The tail section and one side of the stabilizer was intact and unburned. The fuselage was scattered for approximately 25 to 30 yards forward of the tail section. Victims 1 and 2 were lying forward, southeast of edge of debris, slightly forward of motors. The bodies were approximately eight feet apart, lying parallel to each other. As there were no identifications on the bodies due to their badly burned condition, they were marked "left" and "right", corresponding to their position with the plane.


WRECK SITE VISITED


We located the remnants of the crashed B-25 near the headend and in the bottom of Mill Canyon.

We found one of the wings in the bottom of the canyon.


We found the engines and cockpit pieces slightly above the wing.

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