Thirty-five people died after a C-46 Standard Airlines flight crashed about a mile and a half northeast of Chatsworth Reservoir. Thirteen people survived the crash.
The flight left Albuquerque, N.M., at 4:24 a.m. and was en route to the Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank. At 7:36 a.m. the C-46 was cleared to land. While descending through patchy fog, the right wing struck the side of a hill.
The July 13, 1949, Los Angeles Times reported that shortly before the crash, a fistfight had broken out between two men on board. Survivors later said the fight was not the cause of the crash and that the pilot was flying too low.
Even before the crash, Standard Airlines was scheduled to shut down. The July 13, 1949, Los Angeles Times reported, “Standard Airlines of Long Beach recently had been ordered by the Civil Aeronautics Board to wind up its business by July 20 for regulation violations. An ‘irregular’ (nonscheduled) carrier, it charges $113 for cross-country fare as against a scheduled airline charge of $181.”
The Los Angeles Times also reported that arriving emergency personnel were met by an unusual group of helpers.
Many were startled, as they neared the crash scene, to see solemn, bearded, coarse-robed men waving them on.
The volunteer traffic officers were disciples of Krishna Venta, self-styled "Christ," who maintains a monastery in a stone house in Box Canyon only a few hundred yards form the disaster scene.
Krishna Venta and one disciple, Brother Paul, wearing brown and blue robes, respectively, worked actively to extricate the victims' bodies. They strode unflinchingly across the rock-strewn terrain in their bare feet.
In an Aug. 2, 1999, Los Angeles Times story, survivor Caren Marsh remembered, “After climbing out of the wreckage, she said she thought for a moment she had died because men in long robes were walking around her. Angels, perhaps.”
On Dec. 10, 1958, Krishna Venta and nine others died in a bombing of the WKFL Fountain of the World Monastery in Box Canyon.
An upcoming From the Archives post is on actress Caren Marsh's life after the crash.
This post was originally published on Jan. 26, 2011.