History
11:28 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Plane Crashes in Red Butte Wilderness, Killing All Four Aboard

 It was mid-afternoon, July 28, 1945, when Rob Armstrong took off in his Stinson airplane from Red Butte, Calif. His three passengers were Sylvan Gosliner, a San Francisco businessman, his wife, Ruby, and her sister, Alma Pratt.

A few hours later a Forest Service lookout north of Yreka reported seeing a low-flying airplane, "obviously having engine trouble and searching for a landing spot." It took three days to locate the wreck from the air. A burial party assembled, and the next day its members drove and hiked through the rugged, thickly forested Red Butte wilderness. They found the nose of the plane driven four feet into the ground and the cabin crushed by the engine. All aboard were dead.  The group did what they came for, wrapping the bodies in blankets, placing them in a gully, and covering them with rocks and dirt. Armstrong’s brother hiked in later and carried out his brother’s body for burial in Tulare County’s “Olive Cemetery.”  A brass plate marks the grave of the three passengers along the Butte Fork Trail above the remnants of the plane. 

 Sources: Miller, Bill. "Let's not forget the pilot." Mail Tribune 30 Sept. 2012 [Medford Oregon] . Web. 18 June 2014; "Red Buttes Wilderness." USDA US Forest Service. Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Web. 19 June 2014. 

Related Program