US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Mobile Nav Button

 

Michael T. Box

Entered on Duty: 
1923-09-02
End of Watch: 
1950-08-29

Just after dawn on August 29, 1950, Airplane Pilot Michael T. Box was patrolling by plane in the irrigated farm area about 20 miles north of El Paso, Texas, searching for aliens who had walked through the desert at night and were attempting to get away to the north through the upper Rio Grande Valley. Pilot Box was working with two ground crews who were in radio-equipped jeeps. The operation had netted several aliens and others were being sought when the engine of the aircraft stopped and the plane crashed. The plane burst into flames, however, fellow officers were able to remove Pilot Box from the aircraft within minutes after the crash occurred. Artificial respiration was commenced immediately and was continued until Pilot Box was pronounced dead by a doctor who lived nearby.

Investigation into the accident revealed that the motor of the aircraft ceased apparently due to difficulty in the fuel system. Pilot Box maintained control of the plane as it lost altitude and maneuvered the aircraft into position to make an emergency landing in an irrigation ditch. The aircraft struck a submerged object on the canal bottom upon impact. Pilot Box's seat strap was broken and he was thrown with terrific force into the wheel and instrument panel. He died instantly as his chest and skull were crushed, his jawbone was broken in two places, and both shoulders were broken.