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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago: Airplane used in search for body

Published in the Aug. 25, 1920 Spokane Daily Chronicle.  (SR archives)
Published in the Aug. 25, 1920 Spokane Daily Chronicle. (SR archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

An airplane was used for a new, if somber, purpose in Spokane.

It was used to locate the body of Pearl Romelly, 17, who drowned in the Spokane River two days earlier. Searchers had been unable to find her body, so police asked pilot N.B. Mamer to help out.

“From the plane, we could see the bottom of the river everywhere,” Mamer said. “We were practically sure we had the body located in a few minutes, but came down lower until we were positive. I have found practically no places in the Spokane River where it is not possible to see the bottom clearly from a plane about 1,000 feet in the air.”

Pearl Romelly drowned while she and a friend attempted to ride horseback across the river. She was thrown from the horse and into the water at a deep spot.

From the robbery beat: A suspected yeggman (safecracker) was still at large after he slipped away from a posse in Whitman County.

His accomplice, John Casper, was in jail after he surrendered in a nearby wheat field. But the other suspect “plunged into some thick underbrush along the creek that runs through the field.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1916: President Woodrow Wilson signed an act establishing the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior.

1944: During World War II, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation.

1980: The Broadway musical “42nd Street” opened. (Producer David Merrick stunned the cast and audience during the curtain call by announcing the show’s director, Gower Champion, had died earlier that day.)

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