Rusty Carter

Death 13 Mar 1974
Bishop, Inyo County, California, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 159228855 · View Source
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Rusty Carter -- xx xxxxxxxxx xxxx to 13 March 1974; Prop Man


Rusty Carter -- xx xxxxxxxxx xxxx to 13 March 1974

Bishop, CA Television Film Crew Dies In Crash, Mar 1974
Posted January 27th, 2008 by Stu Beitler
Bishop CAL plane wreckage 3-13-1974.jpg
Bishop, Calif. (UPI) -- A huge black scar below the snow line on White Mountain Peak marked the spot Thursday where 36 persons were killed in the flaming crash of a propeller plane carrying a television film crew home from location.
The Convair 440 slammed into the side of a ridge at the 7,000-foot level as it missed clearing it Wednesday night possibly by less than 100 feet. The 44-passenger twin engine plane exploded into flames on impact, scattering bodies and debris over the mountain side.
UPI photographer BOB FLORA flew over the area in
Inyo National Forest in daylight Thursday and reported:
"There's a big black scar in the brown dirt on the side of the mountain. It hit close to the top of the ridge. The tail section broke off and parts of the plane went over the top. The tail section is really the only recognizable part left -- the rudder and the vertical stabilizers were left virtually intact."
"I was told some bodies were strewn over the top and on the other side of the ridge. Some deputies said they thought the plane hit about 100 feet before the ridge -- I think it was only 40-50 feet below the top."
The dead included 31 members of the cast and film crew
of the ABC-TV "Primal Man" television series and five
plane crew members. The plane was chartered from
Sierra Pacific Airlines which is a scheduled line plying between Los Angeles and ski resorts in the high Sierra near the California-Nevada border.
The crash scene was in an almost inaccessible area but
members of a volunteer rescue team made their way to it on foot and guided Inyo County sheriff's deputies.
Helicopters were on hand from the Air Force and the
Navy to ferry the bodies to a temporary morgue at
ED WALDAPFEL, information officer for the U. S.
Forest Service at Inyo National Forest said the plane was traveling south and hit the east-west slope close to the top.
"It crashed on the western slope," he said. "It nosed in just below the ridge. The tail section looked to be about 100 yards below the top."
The film crew had been in the Mammoth Lakes area
filming the third of the series "Primal Man: Struggle for Survival." The series dramatizes the evolution of human beings from animal ancestors into primitive men.
Among the victims were the series director, DENNIS
once played a comic bear character on the old Andy
Williams television series.
Other victims were AZZARELLA'S fiance, IRENE
BUNDY, PROHASKA'S son ROBERT and performers
A seven-man team from the National Transport Safety
Board in Washington, D. C., was sent to the crash scene.
Federal Aviation Administration investigators from Los
Angeles and Tonopah, Nev., also were at the scene.
Two large military helicopters ferried investigators and coroner's officers into the crash site on Forest Service land seven miles from Bishop.
The plane took off at 8:24 p.m. PDT and slammed into
the ridge at the 7,000-foot level less than five minutes later. It exploded in a ball of flame seen by an Inyo County deputy sheriff.
MIKE ANTONIO, a helicopter pilot, flew DR. DAVID
SHELDON of Bishop to the crash scene immediately
and they reported all aboard dead.
"The plane smacked hard into the ridge and spread
wreckage for 300 feet," ANTONIO said. "There wasn't
much left of the plane -- only the tail section, part of an engine and not much else. All of it was burning."
ANTONIO said the bodies were badly burned.
A Forest Service spokesman said the fire burned only a
little sagebrush and did not spread. Snow patches dotted the landscape.
Pilot of the plane was Capt. [LTC] ALBERT [John] EVANS, "Al" 50, of Torrance. Crewmembers were PAUL [Thomson] DENNIS, 27, Pasadena, ROBERT WEST, 52, Torrance, stewardess MARY [Joanne] PARKER, 19, Paramount. and JAMES [Erik] STEINLAUF, 27, Marina Del Rey.
Galveston Daily News Texas 1974-03-13
Flight Crew And Passenger List
CAPT. [LTC] ALBERT [John] J. EVANS, 50, Pilot.
First Officer PAUL [Thomson] T. DENNIS, 26, Co-
Pilot [Harold Robert "Robert"] HAROLD R. WEST, 45,
Observer Pilot On Flight.
MARY JOANNE PARKER, 19, Flight Attendant.
JAMES [Erik] E. STEINLAUF, passenger service
representative for Sierra Pacific.
ROBERT PROHASKA, stuntman, son of JANOS.
RICHARD [Paul] P. ACKERMAN ["Rick"].
[Ronald James] JIM DICKSON.
Production staff members.
DENNIS R. AZZARELLA, Director/Writer.
JOEL ROSEN, Personal Assistant to Director.
IRENE [Grace] G. BUNDE, fiance' of DENNIS [R.]
ANTHONY R. MAZZOLA, assistant director.
ALBERT [Carl] C. KIHN, cameraman.
DAVID [Ara "Eric"] E. AYVAZIAN, assistant
[William P.] BILL LUCAS, assistant cameraman.
DONALD [Harvey] H. JACOB, key grip.
JOHN [William] W. "BILL" SAVOY, transportation.
JAY [Prince] P. "FISH" FISHBURN, representative of
the American Humane Association.
[William] BILL MILLER, make up artist.
ROLF [Joseph] J. MILLER, make up artist.
[James Craig ? H. M. ?] JIM PHILLIPS, make up artist.
IRVING [Allan] A. PRINGLE, make up artist.
CHARLES [Alan] A. SORKIN, make up artist.
RUSTY CARTER, propmaster.
ROBERT [David] D. "BOBBY" JONES, [Junior], gaffer.
ALAN [William] W. HOFFMAN, wardrobe specialist.



Rusty Carter -- xx xxxxxxxxx xxxx to 13 March 1974; San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego, San Diego, California, USA, Friday, 15 March 1974; Prop Man

Clues Sought In Plane Crash That Killed 36 [people]

Pictures -- Page A-3

BISHOP (AP) -- Investigators flew by helicopter yesterday to a rocky ridge where a chartered
plane crashed and exploded, killing 31 members of a
television movie crew and five airline employees.
Witnesses said the Sierra Pacific plane blew
up like a fireball after slamming into the ridge about five minutes after take-off, from Bishop Airport, Wednesday night. The twin-engine propeller plane disintegrated on impact. Only the tail section remained intact.
A helicopter pilot, at the site, said, "They were
all dead. All that we saw was a lot of burning."

Documentary Being Filmed
Wolper Productions, which chartered the Convair 440, for the crew, filming the documentary
series, "The Primal Man," said on of the dead was actor Janos Prohaska, 54, who played the talking bear, on the Andy Williams Television show. His Son, Robert, 34, also was identified as a victim.
A Wolper Productions spokesman, Michael Manheim, said another victim was Dennis [R.] Azzarella, a film director and writer, whose credits include the
National Geographic special, "The Violent Earth." and a television biography on football star Joe Namath.
Manheim said the film crew had been shooting a Siberian tiger hunt sequence, at the Mammoth Mountain
Resort Area. It was to have aired 02 May [1974].
Gary McCoy, Sierra Pacific, Vice President,
saw the take-off and said he had no idea what caused the crash, the airline's first.

No Difficulties Reported
In Los Angeles, Sierra Pacific spokesman Dean Sparkman said the pilot had been in contact with
the control tower, at Bishop Airport, until just before the crash and reported no difficulties.
The crew, which had been working, in the area
since Monday, was headed to Burbank, a Los Angeles
suburb 250 miles South of here.
Federal Aviation Authority officials, Inyo
County Coroner's workers and an F.B.I. team were at the scene. The F.B.I. men were assisting in identification of the bodies, many of which were badly burned.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known. A team of National Transportation Safety Board
Investigators was on its way to the barren hillside, at about the 6,500 - foot level, of the White Mountain
Sierra Pacific is a subsidiary of Mammoth Mountain Corporation, which operates ski lifts near Mammoth Lakes, 50 miles north of here.
The air craft crew was identified as Captain [LTC Albert John] Al Evans, 50, [Pilot] of Torrance;
First Officer, Paul [Thomson] Dennis, 27, [Co-Pilot], of Pasadena; Captain [Harold Robert "Robert" ] Robert
West, 52, [Observer Pilot, On Flight], of Torrance;
Hostess Mary [Joanne] Parker, 19, [Flight Attendant], of Paramount and passenger services director James
[Erik]Steinlauf, 27, [Passenger Service Representative for Sierra Pacific], of Marina del Rey.

San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego, San Diego,
California, USA, Friday, 15 March 1974

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  • Created by: Utah Quilter in D.U.P.
  • Added: 10 Mar 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 159228855
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rusty Carter (unknown–13 Mar 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 159228855, ; Maintained by Utah Quilter in D.U.P. (contributor 48206502) Unknown.