Letter Lost In Plane Crash Delivered – June, 1937

The following article appeared in the Falmouth Enterprise, June 24, 1937 

Falmouth, Massachusetts


Lost Letter In Airplane Disaster Is Returned To Falmouth Sender

    “Damaged due to air mail interruption near Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec. 15, 1936”, was stamped in purple ink on a dingy, tattered envelope received in Falmouth this week.  the tattered letter, the envelope worn at the edges, the mucilage which once held its edges together entirely gone, stamps and every line of the address obliterated, looks as though it had been soaked in water or buried in snow.  Which it has been. The letter was mailed last December 14, at Los Angles, California, by Miss Jeannette Labbe, who spent the winter there with Mr. and Mrs. William E. Eldredge.  Miss Labbe on her arrival wrote her sister in New Bedford, putting her new address at the top of the letter.  The letter never reached its destination.  It left Los Angles on a mail and passenger plane which never arrived at Salt Lake City, where it was due next day.

     Nothing was heard of the wrecked ship, with its two pilots, stewardess, and four passengers until June 6, when mountain climbers discovered the wreckage in a steep canyon of the Wasatch mountains.  Letters scattered apparently when the plane crashed, were picked up on the mountainside.  The rest of the mail presumably , was found in mailsacks when the wreckage was examined.  It had lain buried under mountain snow for six months.  Government thoroughness saw to delivery or return of such mail as was identifiable.  Miss Labbe’s letter, the contents only slightly damaged, had only the Los Angeles street address for identification.  It was mailed to that street number in a government franked envelope, stamped with the “damage due” stamp, and enclosed with a typed slip, “The enclosure bearing your address or return, was damaged due to the interruption of air mail service December 15, 1936, near Salt Lake City, Utah.”  It was signed by the Salt Lake City postmaster.  From Los Angeles the letter was remailed to Falmouth by Mr. and Mrs. Eldredge’s daughter, Mrs. David Quinn 3rd.  Miss Labbe’s sister has still to receive the news written her last winter of her sister’s arrival in the west.            


     The crash in question occurred December 17, 1936.  On that date, a Western Air Express Boeing 247D (NC13370) went into a mountain in bad weather  as it approached Salt Lake City.  

     Source: Lost Flights-Historical Aviation Studies & Research  www.lostflights.com

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