The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber used by the United States Army Air Forces and other Allied air forces during World War II. A number of B-17Gs. redesignated B-17Hs and later SB-17Gs were used in the Pacific during the final year of the war to carry and drop lifeboats to stranded bomber crews who had been shot down or crashed at sea.
About 130 B-17s were converted to the air-sea rescue role, at first designated B-17H and later SB-17G. Some SB-17s had their defensive guns removed, while others retained their guns to allow use close to combat areas. The SB-17 served through the Korean War, remaining in service with USAF until the mid-1950s.
The history of SB-17 crash in
the Olympic Mountains
IAF 44-85746A was an SB-17G, a search-and-rescue variant of the venerable B-17 flying fortress. In January 1952, the aircraft was returning to McChord Air Force Base after assisting with a rescue mission in Canadian waters.
In extreme turbulence and heavy blizzard conditions, the crew experienced sporadic failure of navigation and radio equipment. The plane was tossed up and down 800 feet by the severe winter weather.
One of its wings clipped a high ridge and the plane skidded down a snowfield into a box canyon killing three of the eight crew members. The pilot was tossed out a hole in the cockpit and part of the plane slid over the top of him, pressing him into the snow.
The co-pilot was thrown into the turret compartment and made his way to the bomb bay. The flight engineer had been standing behind the co-pilot and was thrown to the floor of the cockpit and knocked unconscious.
The five survivors built emergency shelters until they were airlifted out the following day. Early that morning, they were spotted by a search aircraft from their own rescue squadron.
For more than six decades, the wreckage of that plane has survived as one of the most unusual destinations for hikers in the Pacific Northwest — one that combines the region’s aviation history with a splendid mountain locale.
Photos of abandoned B-17 in the Olympic Mountains
The landing-gear wheels are the easiest to recognize, along with the hydraulic shafts that look as shiny as the day they were made. As the B-17 careened down the snowy slope, pieces broke off, creating a dispersed debris field in the valley.
While the military removed some critical components and looters have taken their share, much of the aluminum frame and wings are ripe for investigation.
How To Get To The Abandoned B-17 Site in the Olympic Mountains
If the 1952 abandoned B-17 site is your destination, take the Tull Canyon trail to the mine and past. The trailhead is about an hour from Sequim, WA driving on 16 miles of an unsealed forest service road. This trail is steep, gaining 450 feet in 0.6 miles, passing countless enormous boulders poised on the steep slopes all around you.
Coordinates: 47.8861, -123.0913
Expert on Urban Planning and Abandoned Places
|Mr. Gregory Hooqe is a highly experienced expert on Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. Mr. Gregory Hooqe has been focusing on Urban Development since 2000 and has written extensively on the subject.|
He was awarded the 2009 Korea Foundation Professional Award for his research on Korean Smart Cities, as well as the 2016 Korea Development Institute, Global Ambassador Award for SD and Innovation