Narrative:A Douglas DC-4, N30062, was destroyed when it crashed into a Medicine Bow Peak, WY. All 63 passengers and three crew members were killed.
United Air Lines Flight 409 originated at New York, NY on October 5, 1955, destination San Francisco, CA, with intermediate stops including Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; and Salt Lake City, UT. The trip to Denver was routine.
At Denver the flight was dispatched to Salt Lake City via airways V-4, V-118, V-6, and V-32 to cruise at 10,000 feet, and to fly in accordance with Visual Flight Rules (VFR). The estimated time en route was two hours and 33 minutes. The only obligatory reporting point along the route was Rook Springs, WY.
The flight departed Denver at 06:33. Flight 409 reported its time off to the company and this was the last known radio contact with the flight.
When the flight failed to report at Rock Springs at 08:11, its estimated reporting time, repeated efforts were made to establish radio contact with it. These were unsuccessful and the company then declared an emergency. A widespread search was immediately initiated. At approximately 11:40 the same day the wreckage was sighted near Medicine Bow Peak, 33 miles west of Laramie, WY. The Laramie weather at 07:28 was: Scattered clouds, 5,500 feet; visibility 40 miles; wind west-northwest 13 knots; snow showers of unknown intensity over the mountains.
The aircraft struck the almost vertical rock cliff of the east slope of Medicine Bow Peak (elevation 12,005 feet) located in the Medicine Bow Mountains. The crash occurred at an elevation of 11,570 feet, 60 feet below the top of that portion of the mountain directly above it.
The accident site was 20 miles west off course.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The action of the pilot in deviating from the planned route for reasons unknown."
» ICAO Accident Digest No.8, Circular 54-AN/49 (16-19)
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO to Salt Lake City International Airport, UT as the crow flies is 608 km (380 miles).