This week marks the 61st anniversary of Wyoming's deadliest airplane accident.

On October 5, 1955, United Airlines Flight 409 crashed into Medicine Bow Peak in southern Wyoming's Snowy Range, killing all 63 passengers and three crew members.

Instead of following the original flight plan, which ran north from Denver to Laramie, then west to Rock River and Fort Bridger, Wyoming, before veering south to Salt Lake, the pilot took a shortcut.

The flight had left Denver over an hour after its scheduled departure. To make up time, the pilot attempted to fly over one of the highest peaks in the area with an aircraft that wasn't intended to fly over 10,000 feet.

Due to the remote location of the crash site, it took rescue crews nearly a week to fully recover the victims. To this day, pieces of the wreckage can still be found near the top of the 12,005 foot peak.

At the time of the crash, it was the deadliest incident in the history of commercial aviation in the United States.

In 2001, a memorial to the victims of United Airlines Flight 409 was dedicated at the Miner's Camp turnout off the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Wyoming State Highway 130.



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