B-23 Dragon (multiple)

I photographed these examples of the Douglas B-23 Dragon at McChord AFB in Tacoma, Wash., and at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson. The crash site of 39-0052 is at Loon Lake in Idaho.


B-23 Dragon 39-0051

Pima Air Museum 2017


B-23 Dragon 39-036

McChord AFB 2007

McChord AFB 2017

McChord AFB 2022


B-23 Dragon 39-0052

Wreckage from 1943 emergency at Loon Lake in Idaho

Here is the tale as posted on the All Trails website that has info about the trail to the wreckage.

On January 29, 1943, the B-23 “Dragon Bomber” went down at Loon Lake (elevation 5,280′) with eight men aboard. The plane was returning to McChord Field in Tacoma, Washington from a training mission in Nevada when it flew into a heavy snow storm near Pendleton, Oregon. Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot decided to attempt a landing in Boise. The approach was hampered by heavy icing and a failed radio. An order to prepare to parachute was given at 13,000′. Just then a hole developed in the cloud cover. A frozen lake was spotted and a landing was attempted. Frozen flaps caused the first approach to be abandoned. In a successful second approach, the plane touched down on the frozen lake, sliding across the ice and through the trees. With both wings sheared off, the plane came to rest 150 feet from the shore of Loon Lake in the timber. All eight men survived. A broken kneecap was the only injury. After waiting five days for rescue, the crew selected three men to go for help. On February 3rd, the three left Loon Lake with a shotgun and chocolate rations. They followed the Secesh River downstream. Then, hiking over Lick Creek Summit, elevation 6,700′, they reached the Lake Fork Guard Station. Once inside, an exhausted crew member picked up the telephone and spoke to the operator in McCall. The three men had hiked for fourteen days and approximately 42 miles through waist deep snow. On February 18th, the wreckage was spotted by bush pilot, Penn Stohr, of Cascade, Idaho. He returned and notified authorities. Stohr made two more flights, landing on the frozen lake to fly the crew out. After some 21 days in the harsh winter climate of Idaho’s primitive area, all eight men were rescued.

(I have heard that one of the men that walked out died before they reached the guard station.)