top of page


WW II Era Plane Crash Site Rediscovered at INL (Original News Story)

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The fading memories of a downed World War II-era flight crew are coming into sharp focus thanks to a rediscovery by a local historian and archaeologists at the Idaho National Laboratory.

In March, archaeologists pinpointed the location of Aircraft 42-73365 — a consolidated B-24J Liberator bomber that crashed in the Acro Desert during a 1944 training mission.

The entire 7-man crew compliment died in the crash: 2nd Lt. Richard A. Hedges, 25, 2nd Lt. Lonnie L. Keepers, 23, 2nd Lt. Robert W. Madsen, 28, 2nd Lt. Richard R. Pitzner, 23, Sgt. Louis H. Rinke, 19, Sgt. Charles W. Eddy, 22, and Sgt. George H. Pearce Jr., 25.

"I think that was the most touching part — that we know that seven people died right here,'' archaeologist Julie Williams said. "And it's not that we haven't found other places (on the INL site) where people have died, but this was in context . because we know where and how they perished.''

The rediscovery of the long forgotten site began thanks to Marc McDonald, a Pocatello historian and airplane enthusiast. While studying World War II-era plane crashes in eastern Idaho, he came upon the story of aircraft 42-73365. He co