Originally published in Seattle Daily Times, April 25, 1953
By Robert A. Barr
Safe at last: The two survivors of a C-46 plane crash near Cedar Lake early Thursday, James. P. Gilbert, standing, and John W. Schroeder, talked over their experience after being rescued and taken to Virginia Mason Hospital late yesterday. Though still weary and unshaven, the two men were in cheerful spirits and happy over their rescue. Neither was injured seriously. The two other men aboard the plane died in the crash. —Times staff photo by Larry Dion.
Only about 40 feet of altitude stood between a C-46 transport plane that crashed on a forested mountain ridge in the Cedar River watershed about 1 o’clock Thursday morning, and a safe landing at Seattle.
This was the estimate of lumberjacks from the Mountain Tree Farm Lumber Co. who carried out the two survivors, James Gilbert, 24, Miami, and John W. Schroeder, 34, Coral. Cables, Fla. Both are pilots who were “dead-heading” to Seattle as passengers.
The plane hit the tops of trees on the crest of a slight saddle in the ridge at the 4,500-foot level, shearing off its wings and the horizontal stabilizers the tail section. The fuselage then plunged about 400 feet down the mountainside.
Had the plane missed the ridge, it probably would have had clear flight on to Boeing Field, rescuers said.
The forward section of the 40-passenger transport, in which, the pilot, Maurice A. Booska, and the co-pilot, Donald F. Dwelley, both of Miami, were riding, was smashed as the fuselage slid down the mountainside, striking trees 30 inches in diameter. Both were killed.
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