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Crash on Mt. Moran

Photo source: here. See more information on this photo below. 

Last year, we featured the story of the tragic plane crash in 1996, in which a Secret Service agent and an Air Force crew, in town to accompany President Bill Clinton, collided with Sleeping Indian. You can hike to the spot where it crashed. However, that isn’t the only local site to mark a tragic aviation accident. High on the northeast ridge of Mt. Moran, above the Skillet Glacier, lies the wreckage of the DC-3 plane N74586.

In 1950, the aircraft left Chico, California, carrying 21 members of a religious group called the New Tribes Mission. The plane was on the first leg of a flight to South America when it hit a snowstorm and slammed into the slopes of the mountain. All people aboard were killed, including eight children, ten adults, and a crew of three World War II veterans. 

When the plane failed to reach Billings, Montana, search-and-rescue operations began. The next day, a farmer told the authorities he’d seen a fire burning on Mt. Moran. Rescuers found the wreckage, though not only had no one survived, but conditions were treacherous enough that there was no way to get the remains down the mountain. 

If you refer to the picture at the top of the page, you can see the high-altitude memorial service held for the victims of the crash. Representing the New Tribes Mission was Reverend J. Ruskin Garber, who conducted the memorial service. (He’s on the left, close to the wreckage.) Also present were several master mountaineers and guides, doctors, and an aeronautical engineer. This photo was provided by the daughter and son of Reverend Garber.

These days, the wreck is still there, but so are the remains, so everyone who passes the site must treat it with respect. For that reason, the National Park Service discourages hiking to the site, and it’s difficult to find clear directions to the wreck itself. Here’s a picture, though:

Map of the Crash on Mt. Moran

Photo credit: Same as above.

This post is brought to you by Flat Creek Inn.

Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He would like to dedicate this blog post to the victims of the plane crash and their families.





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