Los Alamos County Seeks Assistance Contacting Families Of Those Who Died In 1972 Plane Crash


Los Alamos County will dedicate a memorial on May 19 at the Los Alamos Airport to commemorate the tragic crash of Ross Aviation Flight 7 that took the lives of the pilot and eight Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory employees 51 years ago. County officials seek the public’s assistance in contacting the family members of those that perished.

Chartered by the Atomic Energy Commission to transport employees from Albuquerque to Los Alamos, the twin-engined light aircraft crashed on May 19, 1972, shortly after takeoff.  There were no survivors. According to the accident report prepared by the National Transportation Safety Board, the probable cause was the “inadvertent opening of the forward cargo compartment door and the subsequent discharge of cargo,” damaging the left propeller. 

Those on board were:

Mr. Bruce A. Bean
Mr. William P. Frye
Mr. Johnnie E. Gallegos
Mr. John A Gill
Dr. Wright H. Langham
Mr. Donald A. Larson
Mr. Richard O. Niethammer
Mr. Eugene T. Teatum
Mr. Richard T. Zettel, Pilot

Anyone with contact information for the victims’ families is encouraged to email or call Deputy County Manager Linda Matteson at lacmanager@lacnm.us or 505-663-1750.

Editor’s note: The following is a report of the crash from the New York Times May 20, 1972 edition;