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Anthony John Rosa '64

Three Planes Down In 'Sagebrush Triangle'

LAS VEGAS , Nev. (UPI) -

Experts Sunday removed live rockets dropped on the desert by a downed military plane and recovered the bodies of two officers, but bad weather halted the search for a survivor of another crash.  Searchers Saturday found the wreckage of the two planes and a third that also went down last week in an area dubbed the “Sagebrush Triangle" after the "Bermuda Triangle" of the Atlantic Ocean .  

Two Air Force officers in a military plane that crashed searching for the armed craft were found dead Saturday. An off-duty colonel who crashed in a private plane was rescued, but his 21-year-old son was missing.  Ordinance teams had to remove live phosphorous rockets from the site where an 0-2 Skymaster plane crashed during a military training mission Jan 30 before they could recover the bodies of the crew.  

The dead officers in the plane that took off from Nellis Air Force Base were identified as Capt. Anthony Rosa of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. , and Capt. Victor Villelunga of Bergstrom Air Force Base, Tex.  

But near-blizzard weather conditions temporarily halted the air-and-ground search for Michael Helton, hurt in the crash Thursday of a Piper Cherokee in Wallace Canyon north of the 11,000-foot snowcapped Charleston Peak.  

His father, Lt. Col Billy Helton, 46, of North Little Rock , Ark. , wandered in the mountains for two days before he was rescued. He was reported in stable condition at a nearby Air Force hospital.  

Capt. Lawrence Wilson of Bergstrom and Capt. Virgil Johnson of Davis-Monthan were killed in the crash Friday of their Skymaster spotter plane a mile west of Charleston Peak . It went down while looking for the other two aircraft. Following the second 0-2 crash, all Skymaster planes in the 12th Air Force were grounded to determine if the equipment was faulty.  

A search helicopter, hovering at a low altitude, also crashed Saturday but none of the six crewmen was hurt. More than 40 aircraft and several hundred men on foot and in vehicles were used at the height of the search.

 From the Logansport Pharo Tribune, February 4, 1978