On 10/26/50, the USAF Douglas C-47D #43-49030 was a on a IFR flight from Hill Field AFB, Ogden, Utah to McClellan AFB, Sacramento, California. The aircraft failed to arrive at the destination and a search was started the following day. A total of approximately 475 sorties with 1500 hours flying time were expended by the Air Force and the Civil Air Patrol in search of the missing aircraft with no results. On 5/31/51 the missing C-47D was finally located seven months after it disappeared. The wreckage of the aircraft was spotted up on a ridge by men searching a nearby lake for the bodies of two fishermen that had drowned four days earlier. Examination of the wreckage failed to indicate any evidence of material failure, malfunction of the engines or flight controls. It appears that the pilot overestimated the ground speed due to the unusually strong headwinds and thinking that he had already cleared the mountain range started the descent to McClellan AFB. Unfortunately they were still well into the Sierra Nevada mountains and the plane impacted a cliff face destroying the aircraft and killing the four men aboard.
Killed in the accident were,
Pilot: M Sgt. Thomas W. Rafferty
Co-pilot: 1st Lt. Richard N. Luse
Engineer: T Sgt. William A. Larsen
Passenger: Pfc. Dan L. Young