Incident Name: 90 acre Mt Lowe brush fire 4 mi north of Altadena, CA, between Mt Lowe and Mt Brown, Angeles National Forest, CA; aka Mine Fire or Millard Fire
Date: September 26, 1960
Personnel: Frank William Druehl
Agency/Organization: A private company under contract with the US Forest Service
Position: aerial firefighter
Summary: On 9/26/60, FW "Bill" Druehl was dropping retardent on an inaccessible Angeles National Forest fire 4 miles north of Altadena, when his borate-dropping Grumman TBM tanker crashed into El Prieto Canyon, west of the fire. Druehl's body was found in the wreckage.
Photo credit: From Tom Janney's collection.
Photo Note from Tom: N9394H. This TBM was the first TBM ever tanked, owned by Hollywood flying legend Paul Mantz. Used as a test bed during the mid 50's Firescope program, this aircraft was lost in the incident.
El Prieto Canyon west of the fire -- vicinity Brown Mt, 3600 ft, south slope
- Not in the NTSB database. NTSB Search Utility No records prior to 1961.
- Aerial Tanker Pilot Killed in Canyon Crash
9/27/1960 | pay-per-view article
An aerial tanker on a borate-dropping mission to a brush fire north of Altadena crashed into a canyon yesterday, killing the pilot. ... Killed when his converted Navy torpedo bomber crashed into El Prieto Canyon west of the fire was William F Druehl of Chino.
- California Death Index: Frank William "Bill" Druehl
- from the website Aircraft Wrecks in Southern CA:
- Ran Out Of Gas And Crashed While Fighting The Mount Lowe Fire Above La Canada
- Location: 34 13N 118 07W MARKED
- Find a Grave: Franklin William (Bill) Druehl
Bill served on heavy bombers over Europe; he was shot down and captured in December 1944 and was a prisoner of war until the fall of Germany in April 1945.
He was a pilot and killed flying a tanker while fighting a forest fire in California.
Contributors to this article: Gerald Meehan, Rick Messier, RJM, Tom Janney, Airtanker Pilots Memorial
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