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International Airways crash, White Pass, Alaska, 1935



Northern Aviation History

    Doing historical research is seldom a linear process for me. I usually end up on side trails, and a person or event along one of those trails sometimes becomes the main focus for a while. While researching a grave at the Pioneer Cemetery in Skagway, Alaska, I came across a plane crash, and this page tells that story, compiled from 5 newspaper reports and Bob Cameron's book "Yukon Wings". Click on each of the grave photos below to go to its page at the Pioneer Cemetery section, and all 5 of the newspaper articles are reproduced below.

    Just after 11:00 a.m. on January 30, 1935, a 6-seat Buhl CA-6 Airsedan biplane took off from Skagway, en route to Whitehorse and Dawson City. The aircraft was operated by International Airways was owned by Clyde G. Wann of Whitehorse. Near the summit of the White Pass, a snow storm was encountered, and in the limited visibility, the plane hit a cliff above the White Pass & Yukon Route railway line. All 4 men were killed instantly - photos of the wreckage are in "Yukon Wings". Men at the White Pass railroad section house heard the crash and saw some of the wreckage roll down the mountainside onto the top of a snowshed. They and the crew of a railway snow plow recovered the bodies and took them to the Skagway morgue. It's likely that some of the aircraft wreckage remains on the mountain to this day. Killed in the crash were:

  • pilot Lawrence Muehleisen, living in Skagway but originally from Glendale, California. Formerly an aircraft mechanic, he reportedly helped build Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis". Muehleisen was survived by a wife and 2 children.
  • Charles C. Larson of Dawson. He had arrived at Skagway from Vancouver on the Princess Norah the day before, and was returning to Dawson where he operated a gold dredge. Larson was survived by a wife and 2 children.
  • Archie King of Dawson, who worked in Dawson and Mayo as a diesel engineer. He had arrived in Skagway from Seattle on the S.S. Yukon. Archie was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery at Kentville, Kings County, Nova Scotia.
  • John R. Muralt, possibly of Vancouver. He had also arrived at Skagway from Vancouver on the Princess Norah the day before. We have not yet found a burial location for him.

The grave of Charles C. Larson (1891-1935)
The grave of Lawrence Muehleisen (1907-1935)



The Evening Herald (Klamath Falls, Oregon)
Thu, Jan 31, 1935, Page 2

International Airways crash, White Pass, Alaska, 1935

The Bend Bulletin (Bend, Oregon)
Thu, Jan 31, 1935, Page 1

International Airways crash, White Pass, Alaska, 1935

Medford Mail Tribune (Medford, Oregon)
Thu, Jan 31, 1935, Page 3

International Airways crash, White Pass, Alaska, 1935

The Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Ontario)
Thu, Jan 31, 1935, Page 7

International Airways crash, White Pass, Alaska, 1935

Wausau Daily Herald (Wausau, Wisconsin) - Thu, Jan 31, 1935, Page 1
International Airways crash, White Pass, Alaska, 1935