Hunters Find Missing Family in Plane Wreck Near Diamond Lake

Jan 17, 2014

 It was Friday, Nov. 29, 1940, when Clarence and Alta Walbert left Medford in the fog for Portland, Ore., in a Piper Cub owned by a Medford Flying Club friend. 

 Relatives expected them back on Sunday. When the Walberts had not returned by Monday morning, a search got underway, but the fog was so thick pilots couldn’t fly. One person had reported hearing a plane flying back and forth between Tiller and Trail.  On Tuesday, the Civilian Conservation Corps workers on the South Umpqua River began a ground search.  Flyers from the Civil Air Association, the Medford Flying Club and other airports all over the state joined the search. The search was called off on Dec. 8 despite dozens of reported sightings and a $500 reward. Eight years later, a hunter found the plane with the remains of the Walberts in the cockpit.  It had gone down in a steep canyon 20 miles west of Diamond Lake. Family members held a service next to the plane and buried the Walberts at the site.

  Sources: “Walberts Unseen Since Hop-off to Portland Friday”, Medford Mail Tribune, December 2, 1940, p.1  “Walbert’s Remains Will Rest At Scene of Airplane Crash”, Medford Mail Tribune, October 27, 1948, p. 1.