Squadron Launches a Co-ordinated Plan of Search for Lost C-46; Sheriff's Craft Also Sent Out
The Air Force's Air Rescue Swuadron today established a headquarters at Buffalo Airport and launched a co-ordinated plan of search for the C-46 airliner which vanished Saturday night on a nonscheduled flight from Pittsburgh to Buffalo.
Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol and Royal Canadian Air Force planes took part in the search, which covered the mountainous, the wooded and the plain areas of Western New York and contiguous sections of Lake Erie and Ontario. Each unit was assigned a specific sector.
This was one phrase of the widespread search. Sheriff's deparmtents of Eire and Chautauqua Counties sent out planes of their own. The Coast Guard displatched surface craft to cover the waters at the western end of Lake Erie. Sheriff's deputies, in autos and onfoot patrols, scoured the countryside seeking some trace of the plane.
Never Flashed Word
A similar search in Western Pennsylvania dovetailed from Pittsburgh with the hunt from Buffalo.
The airliner, which took off from Pittsburgh at 9:47 o'clock Saturday night and should have arrived at Buffalo Airport an hour later, never flashed a word of distress or of progress.
It carried a crew of seven and 33 passengers, including a Buffalo Marine, a Lockport woman, a Canadian woman en route to visit her mother in Buffalo and a Miami sergeant planning to visit friends here.
Word of the plane's disappearance brought several reports Sunday indiciating that it may have crashed, but investigation of each proved fruitless. One reported that wreckage was found along the Clarion River in Western Pennsylvania. Another reported an explosion at Leach Hill, near Ellington, and a third mentioned a blast as Sheridan, but Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies checked these and found no evidence.
Search Units Listed
Capt. Gene A. Culbertson of Flight D, Flifth Air Rescue Squadron, stationed at Selfridge Air Base, Michigan, flew in early today and established headquarters at the C.A.P. headquarters at Buffalo Airport. Shortly afterward, he announced that search units had been put into action as follows:
Two amphibious planes from the Cleveland Coast Guard Station, patrolling Lake Erie between Conneaut, Oh. and Buffalo.
Five RCAF planes patroling Lake Ontario.
Submitted by Mary Elizabeth Dunbar, Ellicottville Historical Society.