Names Emerge from Shadows of 1948 'Plane Wreck at Los Gatos' Crash

Names Emerge from Shadows of 1948 'Plane Wreck at Los Gatos' Crash

On Jan. 28, 1948, a plane chartered by U.S. Immigration Services left Oakland carrying 32 people, including 28 Mexicans.  Many were part of the bracero program and had finished their government-sponsored work contracts.  A ride home was part of the deal.  Others had entered the country illegally.  Over farms and ranches on the edge of the Diablo Range, 20 miles west of Coalinga, the World War II surplus DC-3 trailed black smoke.  An engine exploded.  A wing broke off, floating left and right.  More than 100 witnesses watched bodies and luggage thrown from the fireball.  There were no survivors.  News accounts named only the pilot, first officer, stewardess — who was also the pilot's wife — and an immigration officer.  The others were listed simply as "deportees." ... Hernandez and Rascon had decided to raise money for a memorial engraved with the deportees' names. ... The monument will be unveiled on Labor Day. ...  The stone will be etched with 32 falling leaves, four of them bearing the initials of the Americans who died on the flight.  In the center will be 28 names: Miguel Negrete Álvarez. Tomás Aviña de Gracia. Francisco Llamas Durán. Santiago García Elizondo. Rosalio Padilla Estrada. Tomás Padilla Márquez. Bernabé López Garcia. Salvador Sandoval Hernández. Severo Medina Lára. Elías Trujillo Macias. José Rodriguez Macias. Luis López Medina. Manuel Calderón Merino. Luis Cuevas Miranda. Martin Razo Navarro. Ignacio Pérez Navarro. Román Ochoa Ochoa. Ramón Paredes Gonzalez. Guadalupe Ramírez Lára. Apolonio Ramírez Placencia. Alberto Carlos Raygoza. Guadalupe Hernández Rodríguez. Maria Santana Rodríguez. Juan Valenzuela Ruiz. Wenceslao Flores Ruiz. José Valdívia Sánchez. Jesús Meza Santos. Baldomero Marcas Torres." - Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2013.