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The way it was: Plane crash -- 1964
Searchers reached the site of a delay plane crash near Jeffrey City, pictured on March 4, 1964. File photo

The way it was: Plane crash -- 1964

Mar 3, 2013 - Staff

One of the most memorable news events of its time occurred 49 years ago this week on the windy, snow-covered prairie near Jeffrey City.

A single-engine airplane flown by Dan Gimlin and carrying passenger Brad Dale, both of Riverton, was reported missing on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1964. They took off from the Riverton airport on a coyote hunting trip and were expected that day.

When they didn't return, a search party described as the largest of its type ever assembled in Fremont County looked by ground and air for the missing plane for days. At the peak of the search, 36 airplanes and 156 searchers combed the desolate landscape around Beaver Rim, Jeffrey City, Muddy Gap and Moneta.

Hampering the search was one of the worst periods of winter weather all winter. Four inches of snow fell over that weekend, accompanied by howling winds and temperatures near zero afterward.

Finally, a full week after the plane was lost, it was spotted late in the afternoon of March 4, about 7.5 miles southwest of the Split Rock Ranch in the Sweetwater area.

Sheriff PeeWee McDougall led a search party through snow drifted waist deep in some places to the crash site, which had been spotted from the air by Norine Kinnamen of the Civil Air Patrol.

Both Gimlin, 29, and Dale, 37, were killed in the crash.

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