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JPR Feature
Plane Crash Near Lakeview   
Wednesday April 6, 2005
By Dawna Curler

Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson

The fatal crash of a small airplane over mountainous terrain in Northern California or Southern Oregon is tragic but not unusual. But when a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza went down near Lakeview, Oregon, in October 1947, the crash shook the whole state and the Republican Party to its core.

On board was Earl Snell, Oregon's governor, along with Secretary of State, Robert Farrell, Jr., and Senate President, Marshal Cornett. Piloting the plane was a Republican Party leader, Cliff Hogue. The group was heading to a friend's ranch to hunt waterfowl.  They stopped in Klamath Falls for dinner then flew out again in stormy weather.  A cowboy camping near the crash site reported hearing an airplane, its engine started cutting out and restarting, then silence.  A search party, including a number of Lakeview residents, scoured the tree-covered hills until they found the wreckage. They sloshed through thick mud in bitter-cold rain and sleet hoping to find survivors…but there were none.

The deaths of three of Oregon's top officials and most powerful Republican leaders left the state government in turmoil for some time.  The heartbreaking accident reshuffled the political deck accelerating political careers for some Republicans and leveling the playing field for Democrats.

Today's episode of As It Was was written by Dawna Curler, the program engineer is Raymond Scully.  I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org

Gregory, Gordon. "Last Flight to Lakeview," Southern Oregon Heritage, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 24-27.

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