Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West
At 7:30pm on December 2, 1942, Boeing B-17F #42-5197 with the 339th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group, took off from Pocatello Army Air Base for a night navigation training mission. A half hour later the aircraft was seen circling the town of Grace, Idaho, at very low altitude. Residents reported that the bomber then headed east toward the northern Wasatch Mountains in bad weather conditions, with poor visibility. The pilot and co-pilot sighted the mountain range at the last minute, and they pulled the B-17 into a steep climb to avoid colliding with an 8500 ft. peak. A violent stall followed, and the aircraft plunged into a heavily timbered area of Eight Mile Canyon. Impacting in a near-vertical descent, the aircraft disintegrated, killing the 10 crewmen on board. The wreckage was discovered 2 days later by Forest Service rangers. Due to severe snow conditions, the recovery effort wasn’t completed until the spring of 1943. Site visited 6/7/14.
Pilot 2nd Lt. Harold K. Simpson Fitchburg,