Two Military-Plane Crash Newspaper Articles
This first article was on the front page of the Friday, February 2, 1945 edition of “THE OJAI”. “THE OJAI” is now the “OJAI VALLEY NEWS”. It is reprinted here with their permission. The author is unknown.
Army Flyer Jumps To Safety as P-38 Crashes in Orchard
The first airplane crash in the history of the Ojai Valley occurred late Friday afternoon when a P-38 from the Oxnard flight strip flew into the hillside orchard of the Brandts’ Hermitage ranch, and exploded, while Lt. John R. Giberson Jr., of Sacramento, parachuted into an orange tree on the Raymonds’ Ladera ranch. Flying over the Valley with two other P-38’s, Lt. Giberson’s plane got into difficulty at 17,000 when one of his motors caught fire. After unsuccessfully trying to put out the blaze, the 23-year-old flyer got out into the country past the village and jumped. As the plane roared over her house to crash into the hillside and explode in a great ball of flame and smoke, Mrs. Frank E. Kilbourne Jr. promptly telephoned Deputy Fire Warden William Bowie reporting the location of the flaming wreck and the apparent drift of the parachuting pilot. Fire equipment and the ambulance was dispatched rapidly to extinguish the burning fragments of the shattered airplane and to aid the pilot. Although encountering difficulty at first in managing his ‘chute in the breeze around the foothills, Lt. Giberson emerged from the tree in which his ‘chute shrouds had become entangled with only minor injuries — bruises and scratches.
None of the buildings on the Brandt ranch were damaged by the exploding plane as it came down in the orchard several hundred yards east of them.
This second article was on the front page of the Friday, June 8, 1945 edition of “THE OJAI”. “THE OJAI” is now the “OJAI VALLEY NEWS”. It is reprinted here with their permission. The author is unknown.
Army Plane Down Near Nordhoff Peak
An army air force pilot died in a P-51 (Mustang) crash in a canyon ¼ mile north of Nordhoff Peak yesterday noon. Flying with a companion plane the ship fell to the canyon floor and was reported crashed by the second pilot. Army officials from down south came up and began the search.
The ranger lookout station at Nordhoff Peak saw smoke rising from the canyon and reported fire. It wasn’t possible to see whether there was any sign of life around the burning ship but when the army relief party had come and cut a path through the dense brush, the aviator was found to have been killed. His name was not announced pending notification of next of kin.
Sailors from Camp Oak were taken in to the area last evening to cold trail the fire.
Thad Timms who assisted in cutting a trail for the stretcher bearers, talked to a brother officer of the dead flier, and learned that he was the same pilot who parachuted to safety on the Raymond ranch late in January as his P-38 cracked up and exploded against a hillside on the Brandt ranch, his second accident not having the fortunate ending that the first one had.