Botanist looking for rare plants finds plane crash from 1952

On a hike looking for rare limestone endemic plants in Death Valley, we spotted the wreckage of a plane! After several hours of hiking and many interesting plants, we managed to scramble over to the wreck. Turns out the plane has been there for 68 years! In January 1952 this SA-16 Albatross was flying from Idaho to San Diego supporting classified CIA Cold War operations when its left engine caught fire over Death Valley, California and the plane began losing altitude and velocity. The pilot gave the order to evacuate the plane and all 6 people on board jumped out the back door! They parachuted and safely landed 14 miles north of Furnace Creek which they then hiked to. The abandoned plane then smashed into the steep limestone hillside in the Panamint Mountians. It was a great day of botanizing with an awesome unexpected thrill! -yt

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