As We See It

Ask Dead Elvis: Did film legend Carole Lombard die near here?

I understand film legend Carole Lombard died in a plane crash near here? What were the circumstances?

Carole Lombard was in the middle of a war-bond tour (for the young ones out there, that would be World War II) when her plane crashed 28 miles outside of Las Vegas, on the side of Mt. Potosi (then called Table Mountain) on January 16, 1942. The TWA airplane had landed in Las Vegas at 6:30 that night to refuel, was airborne by 7:07, heading to its final destination in Burbank, when tragedy struck just 23 minutes later, killing Lombard and 21 others on board.

The tough, snow-capped terrain made it difficult for rescuers to reach the site (contrary to popular belief, Lombard’s husband, Clark Gable, was not in the search party), but Lombard was discovered a few days later and flown back to Los Angeles.

The circumstances remain murky. According to published reports, employees of Blue Diamond Mine in Arden saw the plane pass overhead and crash into the mountainside. What makes it puzzling is that it was a very clear evening—the ceiling and visibility were unlimited. And pilot Wayne Williams was just a few hundred yards short of clearance. It remains one of the most enigmatic mysteries in Southern Nevada.

Thank you very much.

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