Crystal Mountain DC-6 Accident - Site visit with Flight Engineer's family
Nancy S contacted me several years ago after she did an internet search on her biological father’s name. She found him listed among the fatalities of UAL Flt 610 which crashed in June 1951. Nancy was a history teacher and has been a volunteer for the Smithsonian oral history of veterans project helping record the stories of many veterans. And she volunteers at the Pacific Air Museum so knows many airplane people and knows quite a bit about airplanes.
She began learning more about August Petrovich from her mother and from some of his army buddies. She had planned to visit the site with me last summer but California red tape in a home repair project prevented it. This year she made it here as she was passing thru to Iowa for a family reunion and her daughter Mariah (“they call the wind Mariah”- pronounced like that) flew out from California to join her for this hike. Mariah is the operations manager for her father’s tree service so she’s a hard-working outdoor girl and perfectly happy to be in the woods. (Mariah is wearing Duluth Trading Company Firehose overalls in this picture)
I had recommended a hotel near my house which they reserved. On Tues evening they arrived and we had dinner together. We got acquainted and Nancy reviewed “Pat” Petrovich’s life before the crash. He was a farm boy who joined the army at the start of WWII and went to Coastal Artillery at Dutch Harbor then transferred to Army Air Corps to be a B-24 engine mechanic. Nancy went to a reunion of the artillery unit and some of the guys remembered her father and even had pictures to share. Pat's other unit records were lost in the 1973 records fire which has affected many, many others and their personal histories.
After the war he flew as Flight Engineer for UAL. He married Nancy’s mother just after the war. She had lost a fiancée early in WWII before marrying Pat. The loss of Pat (her 2nd husband) was devastating and there were other family-induced complications. Nancy’s mom quickly remarried to a TWA pilot and the two of them had a long successful marriage and life together. Both are now deceased.
At the site pictures were taken and many questions were asked about the debris and the size of the debris field and why the wreckage had been buried. Over the course of the trip and the visit I learned a great deal about Pat and the family. It sounds like Pat was a hard-working great guy.
Nancy and Mariah had 10 min to themselves while I wandered off for awhile to give them privacy.
We all examined wreckage. Mariah took lots of pictures while I didn't take very many.
They are examining some scratched-in writing on an aluminum panel left by previous visitors.
After about an hour on site we departed and had an uneventful return to town where they bought me lunch.
They were very grateful and I was happy to be of service to them.
Last Modified: 8/16/2018