Crash in 1951 Near Little Valley Killed
Submitted by PHGS Member Mary E. Bryant
member Tim Lake has written a book about this crash
and the local heroes who responded. It is Hang on and Fly
and is available for purchase on his website (www.timlakebooks.com/).
Little Valley, NY.
A Continental Charters plane crashed in the remote,
rugged woods of
Sawmill Run near this Cattaraugus County community on Christmas Eve. It
was carrying passengers to Christmas gatherings with friends and
The tragedy near Little Valley involved a non-scheduled airliner.
Charters Inc. of Miami was flying south/north route, Pittsburgh to
The plane cut a wide swath through hilltop trees before being torn
The crash was in such a remote area that access for rescuers
difficult. Twenty six were killed and fourteen survived the crash off
Sawmill Run Road on Saturday, Dec. 29, 1951.
The plane had been listed
as missing a few days before and first speculation had it down in the
of Western Pennsylviana. Then two days later, on Monday about three in
the afternoon, one of the survivors who had struggled through deep snow
and thick underbrush for two and a half miles reached the Charles
Farm and brought the news of the crash to the world.
The survivor who made the trek was a thirty
year old Miami restauranteur, George Albert, who later said
when he heard that first sickening sounds of the crash he knew what it
was to be on the threshold of death. Before Albert had reached the
the fourteen survivors had managed to keep alive by building a fire and
huddling under a make shift parachute shelter near the twin-engined
airliner which had burst apart. On Monday morning, Albert decided to go
out on his own to get help. His feet wrapped in strips of toweling, he
first spotted a camp but could arouse no one. Getting to the Sawmill
Road he forced himself on and four hours later reached the Bryant farm.
Mrs. Ruby Bryant called the Salamanca Police Department and Sheriff
Sigel. The fourteen were removed to the Salamanca District Hospital.
New Years Day Chairman Donald W. Nyrop of the Civil Aeronautics Board
in from Washington to make an on-the-spot investigation.
Click to enlarge:
Dec.31, 1951 Plane crash at Sawmill Run
From collection of DAWN BRAHANEY Salamanca, NY
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Last Update February 2, 2020