Honoring Coalinga plane crash victims

January 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
An effort is underway to honor the victims of a plane crash that happened 65 years ago west of Coalinga. The crash happened on January 28, 1948, as 28 immigrants were being deported to Mexico. Four Americans were also on board. There were no survivors.

The 28 Mexican citizens were buried at Fresno's Holy Cross Cemetery but the marker at the burial site doesn't include any names. "Coming to a cemetery and seeing a headstone without names, doesn't make any sense. So part of it is to unite the names with the person. It feels like the right thing to do," said Carlos Rascon, the director of cemeteries for the Diocese of Fresno.

"The names were elusive for a long time. We finally obtained those from the Fresno County Hall of Records and now we have the actual names to place on there. Other than that, the cemetery didn't have any information on the names, and neither did the funeral home," said Rascon.

Rascon is now working with the Woody Guthrie Foundation to build a memorial that includes the names. Guthrie wrote a song, "Deportee," detailing the crash and protesting that the victims were never identified by name.

On this 65th anniversary of the crash, a fresh wreath was placed at the burial site. Fresno Bishop Armando Ochoa was among those who stopped by to pay their respects. "There were four crew members that were on there, but we're also going to remember them as well. In heaven, we don't have national boundaries. So we want to remember all people that have been called to the Lord," said Bishop Ochoa.

Donations to help out with the memorial are being accepted at St. Peter's Cemetery in Fresno.


Load Comments