Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Plane Crash at Agua Dulce
Fog and Foolhardiness Brings Quick Death to Nine

Another major disaster is charged up to aviation, in the crash of the big plane just north of Agua Dulce school house, Monday afternoon. Nine people lost their lives, two of them children, and all the men of the party being employees of the Lockheed company, builder of the plane.

The plane passed over Newhall about two o'clock, flying very low, and turning sharply to the east, and as seen by the writer appeared to be south of the Honby beacon. The plane was noticeable, because of its new look, the wings glistening in the sunlight that filtered thru the low clouds. Apparently it struck only a few minutes later.

The peaks are not very high at the location where the disaster took place, and only trouble with the machine, aside from the very low altitude the pilot was taking, could explain the crash.

The plane company, sheriff's office, the county and national forestry, all put their full forces out to search for the plane, after it had been reported as missing, but nothing was seen of it until Mr. Peterson, a rancher, found it, after it had been reported by Phillip Cardowen, a miner that he saw the plane disappear behind a mountain and afterward heard a loud crash. The C.C.C. boys of Bear Canyon Camp, and hundreds of civilians joined in the search, which covered the whole area from the mountains south of Newhall, to Tehachapi on the north, but heavy fog hindered the search.

The bodies were taken to the Noble Mortuary at San Fernando, and afterwards to other places, as directed by relatives.

Newsreel men, radio units, and hundreds of reporters, special writers and curiosity seekers roamed all over the section while the search was going on.

Webmaster's Note: Lee Schiff of Chesterfield, Mo., reports (10-12-2004) that his grandfather, Frederick Whittemore, perished in the crash.



Wreckage 5-18-1938

Wreckage & Casualty 5-19-1938

Wreckage 5-19-1938

Wrecked Wing 5-19-1938

News Reports

The Signal 5-19-1938
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