B47 Plane Crash into Wright Peak of Adirondacks
Death of First Lieutenant Rodney D. Bloomgren
Jamestown Post-Journal, Wednesday, January 17, 1962
Local Flier's Plane Lost
Bomber Down in Woods
First Lt. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Bloomgren,
30 Chambers St., is commander of the B47 jet bomber which is feared to have
crashed in northern New York State's vast forests.
Widespread search continues today for he aircraft, which disappeared early
Tuesday while on a routine training flight from Plattsburgh Air Force Base.
Military and civilian planes are scouring the woodlands from the city of
Plattsburgh westward to the Great Lakes. Last night, seven Air Force planes
crisscrossed the north country, looking for the giant bomber with its crew
Mr. and Mrs. Bloomgren received a telegram from the Air Force Tuesday morning,
informing them of the disappearance of their son's plane. Last night, their
daughter-in-law, the former Connie Lou Crist, telephoned them from Plattsburgh.
Last Word Tuesday
Lieutenant Bloomgren's plane was last heard from about 2 a.m. Tuesday,
when it radioed that it was over Watertown, 133 miles southwest of Plattsburgh
Air Force Base. Due back at Plattsburgh at 7 a.m., the aircraft had enough
fuel to keep in flight until 8:30 a.m. Each member of the crew had a survival
kit containing food, waterproof matches, and other necessities needed to
sustain life in a remote area.
The officer graduated from Jamestown High School in 1953. He enlisted
in the Air Force in May of 1956 and received his basic training at Lackland
Air Force Base. In addition to serving at several bases within the country,
Lieutenant Bloomgren has also had overseas training duty.
He was assigned to the Plattsburgh base last September, following extensive
duty in Kansas.
Lieutenant and Mrs. Bloomgren were married in October of 1957. Mrs. Bloomgren
is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wade Crist of Olympia Wash., and the granddaughter
of Roy Crist of Frewsburg. The couple has two children, Cynthia, 3, and
Stephen, 2. The Bloomgrens visited Jamestown last November.
He also has a brother, Allan Bloomgren, and a sister, Miss Jeanne Bloomgren,
both of Jamestown. Prior to entering the service, Lieutenant Bloomgren
was employed by the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation and by the Geer-Dunn Company.
He also was a member of the Air Force Reserves.
Other members of the bomber crew are: 1st Lt. Melvin Spencer, 28, Tuscaloosa,
Ala., co-pilot; 1st Lt. Albert W. Kandetski Jr., 25, Sunnyvale, Calif.,
navigator; and Airman 1c Kenneth R. Jensen, El Cajon, Calif. Observer.
Blast Provides Possible Clue
Plattsburgh, N.Y. (AP) -- A report of a pre-dawn explosion near
Watertown gave searchers a possible clue today to the fate of a B47 jet
bomber that vanished with its crew of four.
Air Force planes scoured snow-covered, hilly farmland southeast of Watertown
after a woman who lives about 10 miles from the city reported that, at 2:15
a.m. Tuesday, she heard a plane flying low and then a blast that jarred
her house, beside Route 177.
The jet, from Plattsburgh Air Force Base, last radioed to the base while
over Watertown at 2 a.m. Tuesday on a routine training flight.
Snow interrupted today's plane search but helicopters moved in.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Thursday, January 18, 1962
Ground Crews Stop Combing Crash Section
Bloomgren Ship Sought By Search Airplane
Plattsburgh, N.Y. (AP) -- Three dozen planes, augmented by a
special search craft from Labrador swooped over New York's northern wilds
again today in search of a downed B47 jet bomber and its Air Force crew of
four in charge of Lt. Rodney D. Bloomgren, Jamestown.
The special search plane, a C54 transport ship carrying a team trained
in such missions, came from the U.S. base at Gose Bay to join the hunt for
the bomber missing from Plattsburgh Air Force Base since Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, ground searches near Massena and Watertown, begun after reports
that flares and possibly a fuselage had been sighted, were abandoned. Police
decided the reports were incorrect.
Frigid weather gripped the Adirondacks, where the jet may have crashed.
Temperatures ranged to 29 below zero overnight.
The jet last was heard from when it radioed Plattsburgh Air Force Base
several hours after midnight that it was over Watertown. The plane, which
carried no bombs, was on a routine training flight.
The crew comprised 1st Lts. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, of Jamestown, N.Y.,
son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Bloomgren, 30 Chambers St., the plane commander;
Melvin Spencer, 28 of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Albert W. Kandetski Jr., 25,
of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Airman 1.C. Kenneth R. Jensen of El Cajon, Calif.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Friday, January 19, 1962
Adirondack Wilds Combed
Search Still Is Pushed For Bloomgren B47 Jet
Despite high winds and frigid temperatures, search for the missing
B47 jet bomber that carried Lt. Rodney D. Bloomgren, son of Mr. and Mrs.
Harold W. Bloomgren, 30 Chambers St., and three crewmen, was being pushed
in the Adirondack wilds.
Air Force officials said today that even remote clues were being checked,
according to the Associated Press. Reports of flares, tracks in the snow,
objects that might have been wreckage of a plane have been reported from
Maine to Lake Erie.
One of the latest reports sent Air Force planes cruising over ice-covered
Sunset Lake near Benson, Vt. The Federal Aviation Agency said a pilot of
the Albany Civil Air Patrol sighted tracks on the ice at the lake and a
A check-out of this report revealed that the hole was caused by the bubbling
of streams that feed the lake. The tracks where probably ski marks.
Shortly before noon, a highway department worker in the Town of Ohio, Herkimer
County, reported seeing smoke in a wilderness area north of Routes 287 and
A plane and State Police were sent to investigate.
The aircraft disappeared Tuesday morning while on a routine flight over
Northern New York from Plattsburg[sic] Air Force Base. The crew last radioed
the base while over Watertown.
In addition to Lt. Bloomgren, the plane carried Melvin Spencer, 28, of
Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Albert W. Kandetski Jr., 25, of Sunnydale, Calif.; and
Kenneth R. Jensen of El Cajon, Calif.
Each of the men carried a survival kit.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Tuesday, January 20, 1962
Planes Continue Search, But--
Hopes for Crew Aboard Lost B47 Bomber Fade
Plattsburgh, N.Y. (AP) -- Hope faded today that the four crew
members of a B47 jet bomber missing in Northern New York would be found
Air Force and private planes from across New York State and Vermont continued
the search for the bomber that disappeared early Tuesday while on a training
mission from Plattsburgh Air Force Base.
A spokesman at the base said today: "As the time goes on, the chances
for survival decrease rapidly."
Temperatures in the North Country have fallen well below zero since the
plane was lost, and more sub-zero readings were predicted for tonight.
The Air Force said the Royal Canadian Air Force has dropped out of the
search after four days. Its area had been thoroughly covered, a spokes
man said. "It was not an area of great probability," he added.
A total of 45 planes scoured the Adirondacks and other sections of Northern
New York Friday, the Air Force said, and almost as many planes were covering
the area again today.
The B47 was last heard from over Watertown.
The plane carried 1st Lts. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, of Jamestown, N.Y.,
the plane commander; Melvin Spencer, 28, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Albert
W. Kandetski Jr., 25, of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Airman 1.C. Kenneth R. Jensen
of El Cajon, Calif.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Wednesday, January 21, 1962
Some Remains Found in B47 Jet Wreckage
Searchers Start Hunt for Other Missing Fliers
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The finding of the remains of some members of
the four-man crew of a B47 jet bomber that crashed in the Adirondacks touched
off a concentrated search today for the other fliers and the plane's fuselage.
A 20-man search party was prepared to camp on 4,585-foot Wright Mountain
where the plain crashed until it had accomplished its mission.
Continued bad weather, however, could force the searchers to return to
their headquarters near the base of the mountain.
An Air Forces spokesman who reported Tuesday night that some remains had
been found, said it might be some time before identification is possible.
The six-engine bomber, flying out of Plattsburg [sic] Air Force Base, crashed
early Jan. 16. Pieces of the wreckage were sighted Sunday.
Searchers have fought below freezing temperatures, freezing rain and snow
whipped by winds up to 80 miles an hour since then.
The plane was manned by 1st Lts. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, of Jamestown,
N.Y., Melvin Spencer, 28, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Albert W. Kandetski Jr.,
25, of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Airman F.C. Kenneth R. Jensen, 22, of El Cajon,
Jamestown Post-Journal, Monday, January 22, 1962
Rescuers Battle Rain, Ice, Snow
Wing of Bloomgren's Downed B47 Sighted
Lake Placid, N.Y. (AP) -- Four teams of rescuers battled freezing
rain, ice and snow today up jagged Adirondack Mountain trails in hope of
finding survivors from the four-man crew of an Air Force B47 jet bomber
commanded by a Jamestown man that disappeared a week ago.
But the area near the peak looked lifeless Sunday to an Army pilot who
spotted what he believed were a wing section and open parachutes lying among
trees on a slope of 4,585-foot Wright Mountain.
The searchers took different routes and carried two-way radios to keep
in contact with search headquarters at Adirondack Lodge, where Air Force
Col. John B. Holst was in command. He had about 40 men ­p; forest rangers,
State Police and Air Force troops.
They were equipped with snowshoes to wear where the terrain permitted and
to wield as crutches in climbing icy rock.
Winds, sometimes in 50-mile-an-hour gusts, and deep drifts drove the searchers
back last night.
The bomber, based at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, disappeared last Tuesday.
It was over Watertown 105 miles west of McIntyre Mountains, of which Wright
Mountain is a part.
A base spokesman said it was possible the chutes had been ejected and opened
when the plane crashed, since the chutes were so close to the wing section.
The Army pilot reported he was unable to find any other wreckage. It appeared
that none of the trees was knocked down, the spokesman quoted the pilot
Crewman aboard the Strategic Air Command jet were: 1st Lts., Rodney D.
Bloomgren, 26, of Jamestown, N.Y., the plane commander; Melvin Spencer,
28, Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Albert W. Kandetski Jr., 25, Sunnyvale, Calif.,
and Airman 1.C. Kenneth R. Jensen, El Cajon, Calif.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Tuesday, January 23, 1962
Teams Push Search For B47's Crew
Lake Placid, N.Y. (AP) -- Searchers faced icy Adirondack
mountain trails again today in the apparently vain hope of finding any
survivors of an Air Force B47 jet bomber that crashed a week ago.
Little hope was held that the four crewmen commanded by 1st Lt. Rodney
D. Bloomgren, 26, of Jamestown could have survived, if they did not die
in the crash. Sub-zero cold, snow, sleet, freezing rain and strong winds
have plagued the crash area 10 miles south of this resort.
A wing and open parachutes were spotted from the air Sunday.
Several teams of searchers set out this morning in a wind blown snowstorm
and temperatures ranging below 10. They had dog sleds and mechanical trail-blazers
equipped to cut through snow.
The Air Force said about 50 Air Force men and assembled at the base of
4,585-foot Wright Mountain. Forest rangers and State Police joined the
search for the second day.
Freezing rain, wind and ice broke up the search Monday, but rangers reported
finding the telescoped engine at the top, puddles of kerosene, part of the
plan wedged into a huge boulder and other debris splattered over a broad
Air Force officials said the Strategic Air Command jet was 30 miles east
of its course when it crashed.
The plain had been on a routine flight out of Plattsburgh Air Force Base.
Its last radio message was sent early Tuesday while the craft was over
Watertown, 100 miles west of here.
The jet carried Lt. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, plane commander; Melvin Spencer,
28, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., co-pilot; and Albert W. Kandetski Jr., 25, of Sunnyvale,
Calif., navigator; and Airman 1.C. Kenneth R. Jensen of El Cajon, Calif.,
Jamestown Post-Journal, Friday, January 26, 1962
Searchers Again Try to Recover Bodies From B47
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) -- Weary searchers tried today for the
sixth day to collect the strewn remains of a disintegrated B47 bomber and
its crew of four Air Force men, all presumably killed when the plane crashed
into an Adirondack mountain.
Today's sunny weather aided the search parties, after days of snow and
The Air Force said parts of the fuselage had been found and there
was evidence that crew members were in the plane when it crashed on
4,585-foot Wright Peak Jan. 16,. Two parachutes and other pieces of the
bomber also have been recovered from the deep snow on the mountain.
Investigators hope to learn the cause of the crash. The bomber
was about 20 miles off course on a routine training flight from
Plattsburgh Air Force Base. The site of the crash was not found until
Aboard the jet were 1st Lts. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, of
Jamestown, N.Y., Melvin Spencer, 28, of Tuscalooga [sic], Ala., Albert W.
Kandetski Jr., 25, of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Airman 1.C. Kenneth R.
Jensen, 22, of El Cajon, Calif.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Saturday, January 27, 1962
Blizzard Foils Team Seeking B47 Wreckage
Couple More Trips Planned In Rough Adirondack Area
LAKE PLACID (AP) -- Air Force teams will make two or three more trip
sup 4,585-foot Wright's Peak before ending their search for wreckage of
the B47 jet bomber.
It's four crewmen apparently were killed in the crash, Jan. 16,
an officer in charge of the operation says.
A blizzard Friday night forced searchers off the mountain after they had
worked earlier that day in sunny weather.
The plane apparently hit about three feet from the top of the Adirondack
peak. Investigators said. If it had cleared Wright's Peak on the that
course, however, they said, it would have crashed into nearby Mt. Marcy,
the states highest mountain.
Investigators said wreckage of the plane was scattered over the
southeast slope of Wright's Peak. Some pieces were so small they were
buried deep in the snow, they said.
The Air Force said the remains of some of the crew members had
been found but that it might be some time before identification would be
Aboard the jet were 1st Lts. Rodney Bloomgren, 26, of Jamestown, N.Y.,
Melvin Spencer, 28, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Albert W. Kandetski Jr., 25,
of El Cajon, Calif.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Monday, January 29, 1962
B47 Believed Buried Deeply Under Snow
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) -- Most of the wreckage of a B47
jet bomber that crashed in the Adirondacks Jan. 16 is believed buried
beneath 10 to 18 feet of snow, an Air Force spokesman says.
The bomber, carrying a crew of four, crashed near the top of 4,585-foot
Wright Peak. The fliers are presumed to have died.
About 25 men climbed the mountain in bitter cold Sunday but found
The Air Force spokesman said the search probably would be discontinued
within a few days.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Tuesday, January 30, 1962
Snow, Cold Keep Searchers Away From B47
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) -- Severe cold and heavy snow has forced
a halt in the search for more wreckage of an Air Force B47 jet bomber that
crashed in the Adirondack Mountains Jan. 16.
From 10 to 18 feet of snow covers Wright Peak, where the bomber
broke up. The four crew members are presumed to have been killed.
A spokesman at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, where the bomber was based,
did not say Monday when the search would be resumed.
Searchers have found some remains of the fliers. The remains were sent
to the Plattsburgh base but no identification has been announced.
The crew comprised: 1st Lts. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, of
Jamestown, N.Y., Melvin Spencer, 28, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Albert W.
Kandetski Jr. 25, of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Airman 1.C. Kenneth R. Jensen,
22, of El Cajon, Calif.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Wednesday, January 31, 1962
Body of B47 Bomber Commander is Found
The body of First Lt. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, commander of the
B47 jet bomber which disappeared Tuesday, Jan. 16, while on a routine training
flight from the Plattsburgh Air Force Base has been recovered.
The lieutenant's father, Harold Bloomgren, 30 Chambers St., received the
information about 11 p.m. last night from officials at the Base. Also recovered
was the body of the co-pilot. The bodies of two other members of the crew
have not yet been found.
The bomber wreckage was discovered five days after the crash near
the top of Wright Peak near Lake Placid. Severe cold and heavy snow
hampered rescue crews from reaching the scene for several days.
The body is expected to arrive in Jamestown sometime this weekend
accompanied by a military escort.
Funeral services are tentatively set for Tuesday in the Immanuel
Lutheran Church. Funeral arrangements are being made by Henderson-Lincoln
Funeral Home. The family suggests that memorials be made to the Immanuel
Lieutenant Bloomgren was born in Jamestown July 2, 1935 the son of
Harold W. and Edith C. Swanson Bloomgren. He was graduated from Jamestown
High School in 1953 and was a member of the Chi Sigma Chi Fraternity. He
was a former member of the Naval Reserve and the Air Reserve in Niagara
Falls before joining the U.S. Air Force May 1955.
He was a confirmand and member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Surviving are his wife, Connie Lou Crist Bloomgren of Plattsburgh,
formerly of Frewsburg; two children, Cynthia Sue, 3, and Steven Dennis, 2;
a sister Miss Jean Bloomgren, a brother Allen Bloomgren, both of
Jamestown; his grandfather, Gust Bloomgren, Jamestown; several aunts,
uncles and cousins.
Lieutenant Bloomgren's mother, left for Plattsburgh Sunday and attended
a memorial service in the chapel of the Air Force Base, Monday, for the
four crew members.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Saturday, February 3, 1962
Lt. Rodney Bloomgren
Funeral services for 1st Lt. Rodney D. Bloomgren, 26, who
was killed in a plane crash Jan. 16, 1962, will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday
in the Immanuel Lutheran Church. The pastor, Rev. Gerald C. Daniels will
officiate. Burial will be in Sunset Hill Cemetery. The family suggests
that memorials be made to the church. Henderson-Lincoln Funeral Home is
in charge of the arrangements.
Lt. Bloomgren was the pilot of the B47 jet bomber that crashed into an
Adirondack Mountain peak Jan. 16 while on a training flight out of Plattsburgh
Air Force Base. The jet which carried a crew of four, crashed at about
600 miles an hour into the top of Wright Peak about 10 miles south of Lake
Placid. The remains of two members have not been identified yet. The body
of 1st Lt. Melvin Spencer, 24, the co-pilot, has been sent to Tuscaloosa,
Ala., his home, according to a spokesman at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base.
Jamestown Post-Journal, Wednesday, February 7, 1962
BLOOMGREN -- Funeral services for First Lieutenant Rodney D. Bloomgren,
26, formerly of Jamestown, who lost his life in a crash of a jet bomber
Jan. 16, 1962, were held at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Rev. Gerald C. Daniels, pastor, officiated. Music was furnished by Richard
Corbin, organist. Burial was in Sunset Hill Cemetery. Bearers were Richard
Cady, David Adrezejewski, Dudley Ericson, Alan Bloomgren, Patrick Kennedy
and David Anderson. Capt. Charles Fagan attended from the Plattsburg Air
Force Base. The Henderson-Lincoln Funeral Home had charge of the
Many thanks to Greg Smith for allowing me to use his wonderful photographs
with the above series of newpaper articles from the Jamestown
Post-Journal. Check Greg's version (and other Adirondack history) at
history section of the
Adirondack Park website.