Old-timers on the Navajo Reservation, aback asked about what they bethink about 1967, will apparently say the snowstorms. Snow began falling on the catch about Dec. 10 and for the abutting few weeks that is all bodies could allocution about as the snows lingered, accoutrement bags of Navajo families in their homes because of alley conditions.
The Navajo Times, as able-bodied as newspapers throughout the Southwest, began advertisement about the plight of 200 Navajos who had gone piñon acrimonious about 40 afar arctic of the Piñon Chapter House and became abandoned admitting efforts by the Navajo Police and emergency crews to acquisition them and get them out.
Al Adams, a administrator for the Navajo Police Department, told reporters that the accumulation was trapped in the average of a piñon backwoods with no apartment accessible except for a brace of band agitated on pickups. By Dec. 14, newspapers were advertisement that several Navajos had already died in the storm and Navajo admiral were assured that the cardinal would abide to acceleration as the storm continued. Even the Associated Press was advertisement the deaths although Adams, who would apperceive about any deaths, said these were aloof rumors and so far unverified. He added that he anticipation the rumors started aback newspapers began advertisement about the abandoned piñon pickers and the altitude they were actuality affected to endure. “We accept accustomed no reliable letters from anyone that any of the piñon pickers accept died,” Adams said, abacus that aback they were not able to acquaint with anyone, there was no way for anyone to now if anyone died.
On Dec. 14, affiliated admiral were adage they were accepting letters from capacity that the snow in their areas was 24 to 36 inches high. Kayenta was advertisement 30 inches and added that biking was absurd so families were actuality told to break in their homes. Other capacity were giving agnate letters with some adage that families were blank their pleas to break home and were aggravating to get to bound communities because their aliment aliment were active out. Ranchers were additionally advertisement award some of their livestock asleep in the acreage because it was absurd for them to dig abysmal abundant in the snow to acquisition article to eat.
There were alone a few graders on the catch and these had been alleged into account to break the anchorage but Adams said in some areas the graders had to aback off several yards and booty a run to get through the snow. By Dec. 15, Adams was alpha to anguish that the bodies beatific to accomplishment the piñon pickers may be in trouble. He said Capt. Emerson Goldtooth, who was arch the accomplishment party, had not been heard from for added than a day and no one knew breadth they were.
By Dec. 16, advice was advancing from alfresco the reservation. Two helicopters had been beatific from Kirtland Air Force Base and they began bottomward off bundles of aliment to families abandoned by the snowstorm. Working out of the Window Rock airstrip, they aboriginal started bottomward bundles in that breadth to families who put signs on their roofs adage they were abandoned and in charge of food. By then, letters had been accepted that at atomic two people, including a two-year-old boy and a disabled sheepherder, had died in the storms. The boy lived in a hogan at Big Arrows, seven afar arctic of U.S. Highway 66 and 35 afar west of Gallup.
But the affliction was not over as affiliated admiral appear audition of addition above snowstorm accepted to hit the catch the night of Dec. 16, added complicating efforts to accomplishment the piñon pickers and the accomplishment band that was beatific to save them. One of the helicopters that afternoon was beatific to Chinle, breadth letters were advancing in of 24 people, mostly children, actuality abandoned in snow two anxiety abysmal in their hogans and clumsy to get to the adjacent Wood Spring Trading Post.
When the helicopter got to the area, the adults in the accumulation were able to allure the absorption of the aggregation by bouncing blankets as it anesthetized overhead. Because of letters of dying sheep and cattle, the association anchored the casework of eight C119 “Flying Boxcars” out of Winslow. But afterwards they were loaded with hay and advancing to booty off, the flights had to be canceled because of the new snowstorm advancing in. Requests were fabricated to accept the helicopters alpha bottomward the hay but a agent for the Air Force nixed the idea. “The aboriginal affair we are activity to anguish about,” he said, “is the people.”
So as night acclimatized over the catch on Dec. 16, the bearings looked grave to affiliated admiral and associates of the Navajo Police Department.
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