These stories can also be heard Sunday mornings around 10 am on WILD 102’s “Looking Back in Time” program. Each week’s radio story will be posted in its entirety here on our website.
Weekly radio stories are researched, compiled, and read by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member.
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April 16, 2023
On June 12, 1969, this article appeared in the Roseau Times-Region with the headline, “Pilot Crashes in
Swamp; Long Trek Out”.
When tall tales are told by airplane pilots, Maynard (Swede) Carlson, Warroad, can keep company with
the tallest tales merely by telling the truth! Last Wednesday noon he not only survived the crash of his
float-equipped Cessna 180 into a Northwest Angle spruce swamp, but struggled through about six miles
of the most unimagineable tough going with a broken arm and swarms of the world’s most voracious
mosquitoes dive-bombing his every “slosh” of the way.
“Swede” had gone out to make a food drop to Dave Borman who is cutting pulpwood in Angle swamps.
“He makes real good drops,” Borman told the Times-Region. Since some packages of food in the past
have disappeared into the muck of the swamp and been lost when dropped, Swede always makes a turn
to spot the area of impact so he can guide Borman by radio to the package.
“I had made the drop and descended to about 250 feet to check the drop for Borman. When I added
power to leave there was no power,” Carlson said. “I reached down for the flap lever to slow it up (the
airplane) but apparently, I didn’t get any flaps. The next thing I knew I was going down at an angle and
hitting every tree in the woods,” he joked.
“It was real noisy and real ‘bouncy’” he remembered. When the airplane came to rest, he described
himself as being “like a rooster hit in the head with a wet cob … I was more than half unconscious.” He
couldn’t get out of the door on the pilot side since it was jammed shut. The other door had sprung open
and he climbed out and started out of the woods in time to meet Borman who was running to the scene
of the crash.
“I didn’t think anyone could get out of that alive,” Borman told the Times-Region. “He came out of the
woods with his face all blood. I hadn’t expected to see him alive.” The airplane clock had stopped at
12:07, the time of the crash.
The airplane had gone into such dense spruce that it was almost invisible from the air. It had clipped off
numerous trees — turned sideways with the left wing pointed in the direction of entry and had then
gone nose down into the ground. The engine had been ripped from the firewall and was buried under
the wreckage. The remains of the wreckage stood like a broken toy with the tail caught in the branches
and the fuselage broken off behind the cockpit. Brand new floats were smashed and a new propeller
bent and smashed with the left wing ripped open over a wide area. Most areas of the airplane appeared
“I remember the gasoline running out on the ground in that silence — and I got out of there,” Carlson
He suffered a gash on his forehead bending down to get the flap lever, which might have saved his life
since the windshield on his side of the cockpit was shattered by impact and that side of the craft
appeared to have suffered the most damage, and his right arm was broken about an inch below the
Since there was no way for anyone to come to his aid, he had to walk out. Borman started a crawler
with wide cleats on the tracks and got about ¼ mile when it churned into the muck. Carlson had hung his
arm from a strap and wiped the blood from his face before they started the long and difficult trek to
The swamp this time of the year is in such condition that one cannot walk, nor can he swim! Carlson and
Borman sloughed their way out step by step sometimes in nearly waist-deep muck. “It was tough
going,” Carlson said, admitting that the broken arm was extremely painful and the mosquitoes
“ferocious.” He was wearing a short-sleeve shirt and no cap and had no repellant. “It took us four hours
to get out,” he sighed.
Carlson had been in radio contact with his brother Norman at Angle Inlet and had told him while over
Borman’s shack that he would be there in “six or seven minutes.” He grinned ruefully when he recalled
that “30 seconds later I was in the bush!”
When the airplane didn’t show up, Norman Carlson called Warroad to check and learned that Maynard
had not returned. “Swede’s” pilot, Marvin Hinck, heard the conversation … and then heard Borman’s
small walkie-talkie telling of the accident. He landed at Stoney Creek, picked up Carlson and flew him to
Warroad where he was treated and kept overnight in the hospital. He is expected to be out of flying
service for about a month, but is back supervising his flying operation.
Carlson immediately obtained a Cessna 206 to replace the 180 which was covered by insurance.
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