Easter Sunday, April 5, 1942
PLANE DIVES TO EARTH IN DARKNESS
Strevell Farmer Reports Seeing Explosion in Air
By Phillip Hiaring
BRIDGE, Idaho AP – A four-motored Army bomber on a night flight from Ogden to Boise crashed with terrific force
near this Utah-Idaho border town, killing seven fliers and presumably an eighth whose body had not been found late
Wreckage of the huge ship was scattered over a wide area. First reports were that there were nine aboard,
but Capt. R. S. Gibbs, Gowen Field public relations officer at Boise said clearance papers showed only eight.
The dead were listed by Gibbs as: Second Lt. James R. Walker, pilot; Second Lt. Albert J. Rich, co-pilot;
Second Lt. Maurice Victor Bradley, Sgt. Hugh P. Jennings, Sgt. Henry O. Williams Jr., Pvt. Joseph W. Koury,
and Pvt. Charles J. Gneiding.
One Man Missing
Also listed as a crew member was Pvt. Kenneth S. Biddinger. Rescuers expressed belief his body was covered
by part of the plane. Biddinger was the son of Mrs. Helen Biddinger of Indianapolis, Ind.
Gowen Field officials announced the plane missing Saturday morning, saying it had left Hill Field at
Ogden, approximately 150 miles from Bridge on a routine training flight at 8:18 p.m. They theorized the crash,
about 15 miles north of the Utah line, occurred shortly after takeoff.
Louis Gunnell of Stevell, a few miles from Bridge on U.S. highway 30 south, discovered the wreckage and
reported that two men were dead.
When Gowen Field crash crews arrived on the scene, the additional bodies were discovered.
Terrain at the site is fairly level and covered with sage brush.
An Army board of officers will investigate in an effort to determine cause of the mishap, Capt. Gibbs announced.
The crew had been stationed at Gowen Field and was returning to its base after a trip to Hill Field at Ogden.
BURLEY AP – Supposition among investigators and crash workers at the scene of a four-motored bombing plane
smashup 12 miles out of Malta near the Utah border is that the great ship exploded in the air before it hit the ground,
Sheriff Bert Mahoney of Cassia county, said Saturday night.
The sheriff sain that the supposition was "not official" but that this was the general opinion expressed at the crash
scene, according to Deputy Sheriff W.W. Williams who went there.
Farmer Heard Crash
Sheriff Mahoney said he was informed that Louis Gunnell, Strevell farmer, saw the explosion and heard the
crash Friday night. The farmer started a search on foot thinking the flash of light he had seen was at a point
west of Highway 30 South (now called State Highway 81)
in that section. Gunnell, the sheriff said, searched that area until midnight, before
he finally returned to his home. Saturday morning he started out again in the territory east of the highway.
There he stumbled upon parts of the wrecked plane and saw two bodies. He then immediately notified authorities.
Sheriff Mahoney said he was informed the wreckage of the big ship was scattered along a “three mile stretch”.
Gunnell was quoted as saying it was a ”very dark” night when he saw the explosion and that it was raining.
Crashed Near Highway
The ship hit at a point one-half to three quarters of a mile off Highway 30 South to the east.
It was about one and one-half miles south and a little east of the regular airway line beacon 12 miles out of Malta.
“I was told that if you knew where to look you could see parts of the wreckage from the highway,” the sheriff said,
“but if you did not know where to look you could have driven along the road all day and never noticed it.”