COBWEB CORNERS: Plane crash on the Peak
By Mel McFarland
I get asked about plane crashes on Pike's Peak all the time. There was a supposed crash spotted on the south side of the mountain a couple years ago, but it was only a dead tree that looked like an airplane's tail!
There have been lots of crashes in these hills. Most of them happened over fifty years ago. The one I remember best was back in 1947. An Iowa National Guard plane crashed into the north slope of the mountain in a snow storm. The plane, with a crew of seven, was on its way to Lowry Air Force Base in Denver. The low- flying plane smacked into the mountain near Glen Cove, but in October the area was not inhabited. Three members of the crew died, and the others were not in good shape. One man, Master Sgt. John Knight, had slight injuries and started to walk for help. He eventually found the road. There was a crew on the mountain from the Geological Survey. Driving up the next morning, they found Knight wandering along the road.
The plane had hit the mountain suddenly and the crew had no time to send out a message. Airplanes had been sent to search the route taken, and towns along the way had been alerted. The USGS crew had heard of the missing plane, but until they started talking to Knight they had no idea it might have hit Pike's Peak.
Knight was taken to the caretaker's house at Crystal Reservoir, and word of the crash went out. A hunter, also in the area, saw Knight's trail, but he knew nothing of the crash until he met the USGS crew, which had found his trail not far from Knight's. The USGS men and the hunter followed Knight's trail back to the crash site and found the other members of the crew. An ambulance from Camp Carson was sent up to recover the wounded men. The next day, the men who had died were brought down.
Some of the wreckage was removed, but for several years the crashed plane's wreckage could actually be seen in the trees from the road. The trees now hide the spot really well, I am told. Some of the patrolmen on the road still know where it was. I have heard that there are a couple of other possible plane wrecks on the mountain.