Exploring A Mysterious Wyoming Passenger Plane Crash
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 the top of Medicine Bow Peak and look down on a few pieces that are still left.
Top of Wyoming's Snowy Range. An expert hiker can make the journey down Medicine Bow Peak to the pieces that still remain of Flight 409 that crashed against the mountains garnet face on Oct. 6, 1955 killing all 63 passengers, 3 crew members.
These two videos show two different hikers who braved the skidding gravel and boulders to where the pieces of the plane came to rest.
In the first video, below, the hiker shows you what can be found.
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.
In the second video, below, a hiker tells you what he thinks it all means.
Rescuers who 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.