End of Watch
July 23, 1954
On July 23, 1954, Airplane Pilot Buckelew was assigned to serve as pilot and Donald Kee as observer during a flight where the aircraft with ground units checking laborers on farms in the vicinity of Rio Grande City, Texas. The joint operation had resulted in ten aliens being taken into custody by the ground teams. The patrol aircraft made a low pass over a cotton field near the Rio Grande River and was banking to return to the field when it spun and plunged into the river. The plane burst into flames hampering rescue operations by officers and bystanders. Several were hospitalized suffering from burns sustained in the rescue effort. The crash occurred about 4:00 p.m., approximately two miles downstream from the Rio Grande City Bridge. Agents Buckelew and Kee were alive when removed from the plane but died later at the hospital.