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(By Associated Press)
Los Angeles, Jan. 18. — Vast deposits of radio-active ore on the air line route over Newhall pass, a mining engineer suggested today, may have been responsible for two plane crashes and the loss of 15 lives within a month.
Wireless communication aboard both doomed transports possibly was affected by millions of tons of uranium, a radium-filled ore, which lie just below the surface of the earth in the Newhall hills, said Charles Stanley.
His disclosure recalled to investigators the recent report of the Copeland Senate subcommittee that the guiding radio beam of the Van Nuys station here is "generally unreliable."
A veteran mining man of Altadena, Stanley said he thought nothing of the uranium when a United Air line transport cracked up Dec. 27, killing 12 occupants, but when he heard of Tuesday's crash he was "flabbergasted."
"Both crashes occurred within a half-mile of the deposits of uranium I found in 1933 when I was searching for the source of the Placentia [sic] canyon riverbed gold," the engineer related.
"There are millions of tons of the ore just below the earth's surface. The radioactivity of the metal is so great that it will produce a distinct impression on a photographic negative wrapped in black paper."
Stanley offered to lead a party of Federal inspectors to the uranium deposits, if they considered his evidence of sufficient importance.
In stormy weather, when electrical impulses are double conductive, the attraction of the ore might even throw the Federal radio beam out of focus as well as influencing the radio equipment aboard a low-flying airplane, Stanley theorized.
Major R.W. Schroeder, Federal chief of airline inspection, said a hearing on last week's air disaster would be held either tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on the condition of the injured pilot, William W. Lewis, who has not been allowed visitors.
Fourth Man Dies
(By United Press)
Los Angeles, Jan. 18. — Earl E. Spencer, Chicago businessman, died at 6:56 a.m. today, the fourth victim of the Western Air Express crash of last week.
The businessman, president of the Stromberg Electrical Co., had been sinking for the past day. He suffered a skull fracture when the huge transport pancaked on a snow-capped peak last Tuesday.
Arthur L. Loomis of Omaha, Neb., died yesterday, after being under an oxygen tent since Friday. Pneumonia resulting from exposure while awaiting rescue was blamed for his death.
Others who died were James A. Braden of Cleveland, who was killed instantly, and Martin Johnson, famous explorer, who died a few hours after reaching a hospital.
A Federal investigation was delayed again today when physicians said that Pilot W.W. Lewis was too weak to tell his story of the accident.
The eight other injured in the crash all were reported improving although Co-Pilot C.T. Jones, and R.T. Anderson of Buellton, California, and Atlantic City, were still considered in serious condition.
Mrs. Osa Johnson, wife of the explorer, was said to be making a quick recovery from her injuries.
News story courtesy of Lauren Parker.