Instagram hikers are told to stop visiting plane crash site for snaps

Instagram hikers are told to stop visiting plane crash site to take atmospheric snaps after rescuers are called out three times in two days

  • Instagram users have been warned not to hike to crash site on Bleaklow Moor
  • Wreckage of B29 Superfortress which plunged into a ridge in 1948 remains
  • Mountain rescuers say even experienced hikers will get into trouble making trek

Mountain rescuers have warned ‘Instagram hikers’ against visiting the crash site of a Cold War plane after being called out to assist walkers three times in two days.

The site at Higher Shelf Stones on Bleaklow Moor, near Manchester, contains the wreckage of the B29 Superfortress, a US military plane which tragically plunged into a ridge concealed by fog in 1948 – killing all 13 people on board.

It became a popular destination for social media users after images of the remains were shared on TikTok and Instagram during the lockdown.

But mountain rescuers have been discouraging influencers from trekking up to the site after a local team was called out to three incidents in just two days. 

The Glossop Mountain Rescue Team (GMRT) warned that even the most experienced walkers would have difficulty making the trip through steep hills and mountains as the days grow shorter and temperatures drop.    

Mountain rescuers have warned ‘Instagram hikers’ against visiting the crash site of a Cold War plane after being called out to assist walkers three times in two days

The Glossop Mountain Rescue Team (GMRT) warned that even the most experienced walkers would have difficulty making the trip through steep hills and mountains

In a Facebook post, the group said: ‘The Peak District has become a big draw for visitors from Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and beyond during the recent lockdown’

Team leader Patch Haley added that ‘social media only tells [hikers] half the story’. 

‘Always check the weather before you set off. Conditions can change without warning at these elevations, and low cloud can reduce visibility drastically,’ he said.

‘It’s easy to get disorientated and wet, and that’s when hypothermia can set in. 

‘And remember to allow plenty of time to get back before sunset, as conditions underfoot will become claggy, and navigation nearly impossible. 

‘Make sure you bring food, water, a torch, and a map and compass. And be confident you can use them.’

In a Facebook post, the group said: ‘The Peak District has become a big draw for visitors from Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and beyond during the recent lockdown.

The crash site became a popular destination for social media users after images of the remains of a US military plane were shared on TikTok and Instagram during the lockdown

The site at Higher Shelf Stones on Bleaklow Moor, near Manchester, contains the wreckage of the B29 Superfortress, which plunged into a ridge concealed by fog in 1948

‘Higher Shelf Stones in particular has found unlikely fame on TikTok and Instagram, thanks to its eerie and photogenic landscape, where the natural beauty of the area contrasts with the wreckage of a crashed B29 Superfortress, leading to two incidents in a three-hour period over the weekend’. 

The GMRT also asked walkers to tell them if they managed to reach safety before help arrives, after they wasted time looking for hikers who had already made it back home twice this month. 

Hikers have to walk around two miles to the crash site from the lay-by at the summit of Snake Pass, starting along the Pennine Way footpath through Devil’s Dyke.   

The plane, on a routine flight from Lincolnshire to the United States Air Force base near Warrington, is thought to have crashed while descending through fog. 

B29 Superfortress: The US bomber which photographed nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll before it crashed in foggy English hills 

The B29 Superfortress was a US bomber which went by the name ‘Over Exposed’ after it was used to photograph nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946.

It also took part in the 1948 Berlin airlift, a major Cold War crisis, before it crashed at Higher Shelf Stones near Glossop on November 3 of the same year.

All 13 people on board – including 11 crew and two military passengers – were killed when the B29 bomber plunged into a ridge concealed by fog.

The B 29 that crashed near Glossop on November 3 1948 – soon after taking part in the Belrin airlift

It acquired the nickname ‘Over Exposed’ – and this traditional nose art – after taking pictures of A-bomb  tests on Bikini Atoll in 1946

The plane was on a routine daytime flight from RAF Scrampton near Lincoln to the USAF base at Burtonwood near Warrington on the day of the crash.

The crew believed the plane had passed the hills and began its descent before hitting the ground at 610m above sea level and caught fire.

The aircraft was reported missing and the local authorities and nearby RAF Mountain Rescue Service team were alerted. 

The rescue team were on a training exercise in the Kinder Scout area, they made their way as quickly as possible to the southern side of Bleaklow. 

There they found the wreckage, discovering that there had been no survivors. 

A memorial was erected at the site by servicemen from RAF Finningley in 1988. Most of the wreckage, including the Duplex-Cyclone engines, wing sections, fuselage sections, undercarriage and gun turrets, is still exposed.

The crew which perished were:

  • Captain Landon Tanner (pilot)
  • Captain Harry Stroud (co-pilot)
  • Sergeant Ralph Fields (engineer)
  • Sergeant Charles Wilbanks (navigator)
  • Sergeant Gene Gartner (radio operator)
  • Sergeant David Moore (radar operator)
  • Sergeant Saul Banks (camera crew)
  • Sergeant Donald Abrogast (camera crew)
  • Sergeant Robert Doyle (camera crew)
  • Private William Burrows (camera crew)
  • Corporal Clarence Franssen (passenger)
  • Corporal George Ingram Jr (passenger)
  • Captain Howard Keel (photographic advisor)

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