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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 105558
Last updated: 13 October 2021
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Type:Douglas B-18A Bolo
Owner/operator:HQ Sqn /19th BGp USAAC
Registration: 37-520
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Pidgeon Pass, near Riverside, California -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Monterey AAF, CA
Destination airport:March Field AAF, CA
On 23 January 1940, the B-18A 37-520 of Headquarters Squadron, 19th BG, USAAC, was returning to its home base of March Field, Riverside, California, from Monterey, scene of joint Army-Navy maneuvers, when it was caught in high winds, sleet, snow and rain over the Tehachapi mountains. The severe icing condition weighted down the B-18 and made its controls inoperative. The pilot, Lt Raymond M. Sumi, knew he was fighting a desperate battle and radioed his difficulties to March Field and said he was coming in for a landing. Light and radio beams were directed his way. Then he radioed back that icing conditions were most serious, visibility was poor, and that it might be a good idea to have ambulances standing by.

Sumi finally lost control of the aircraft and gace a "bail out" order. The aircraft went into a spin and only two of the six crew were able to bail out, the other apparently were unable to get back nose of the plane, the exit of the ship being in the rear. The two survivors dropped in the brush-covered foothills only a few miles from March Field. The aircraft crashed into a hillside near Pidgeon Pass, seven miles from March Field and two miles northeast of Riverside, killing the four men aboard. One of them washurtled 150 feet down a canyon, one was thrown just clear of aircraft and the other two were found dead in the cabin.

Lt Raymond M. Sumi (pilot, of Nashwauk, Minnesota) KIFA
Lt Benjamin G. Holloway (copilot, of Columbus, Ohio) KIFA
Sgt. Gerald D. Wilcox (of Bennett, Iowa) KIFA
Private Leonard E. Riley (of Wichita Falls, Texas) KIFA
Sgt Cecil Purvis (of Glennsville, Georgia) survived
Private Frank Carroll (of Hyde Park, Massachussets) survived

Santa Ana Register, 24 January 1940 (available online at
Oakland Tribune, 24 January 1940 (available online at

Revision history:

29-Nov-2017 12:18 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
01-Nov-2018 18:02 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Operator]
13-Mar-2020 18:37 DB Updated [Operator, Operator]
16-Feb-2021 18:01 Anon. Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Operator]

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