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Jan 21

Carole Lombard dies in plane crash, World War II week by week

Carole Lombard, wife of Clark Gable, was killed 70 years ago in a plane crash after finishing a bond drive for the war effort.

Carole Lombard had been bumped from her Transcontinental & Western Air flight. The Hollywood star was among those who lost their seats in Albuquerque, New Mexico when a group of military pilots and crew asserted their wartime travel priority.

Lombard was a popular and witty actress and she argued that her war bond tour, raising some $2 million for the war effort, gave her the similar rights to a seat. She did not want to wait for the train home to Los Angeles. She won her argument and she was onboard  the Douglas DC-3 with her mother as the plane winged on to the small desert town of Las Vegas.
The Boulder City terminal did not have lighted runways and needing fuel and coffee the aircraft made one more landing before departing for the destination in Burbank.
The plane took off and ascended to a cruising altitude of 8,000 feet. TWA Flight 3 was on a magnetic heading of 220 degrees on a moonless night under blackout conditions. This would have been the safe heading from Boulder City but from the Las Vegas airport this route takes a flight into the stair stepped rock cliffs of Potosi Mountian, elevation 8,500 feet. All 22 passengers and crew were killed.
Lombard was the first Hollywood celebrity death related to the war effort.
The Lostfights website has an extensive history and photos of the accident.

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