MOUNT HARRISON INTERPRETIVE AREA
THE PLANE CRASH OF 1945
The high alpine is a dangerous place for the unprepared, especially during winter, as can be learned from the
tragedy that occurred in February of 1945 on Mount Harrison. A B-24 Liberator Army Bomber, on a routine
training flight, crashed near the summit, in dense fog. The crew of nine was killed when the plane was ripped
open and packed with freezing snow.
THE SEARCH AND RECOVERY EFFORT
Exceprts from an historical account provided by W.S. Averill, the District Ranger in 1945, describe the search and recovery effort.
"Mountain Home Air Base reported to the sheriff's office in Burley on Saturday evening, the sighting of their missing bomber near the summit of
Mount Harrison. Rescue crews consisting of Army enlisted men and officers, Forest Service officers, and civilians left Albion in the afternoon of Sunday."
Blinding snow and dense fog thwarted recovery attempt until Thursday.
"On Thursday, the wrecked plane was found on the east side of Mount Harrison just a short distance...from Horse Thief Lake."
The nine crewmember bodies were removed over the course of the next 3 days. Horses, sleds, and snow tractors
were the only tools available at that time to aid in this dangerous recovery. Averill continues with the accoung,
"What made this expedition a very hazardous one was the extreme bad weather. The higher elevation snow was covered by one and
a half inches of ice. This was caused by freezing rain which made footing on the steep side of the mountain very dangrous."
*More information about the plane, the crew's mission, and the recovery is available through the Minidoka and Cassia County Historical Museums.