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New Hope, GA Southern Airways Jetliner Crash, Apr 1977

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PLANE CRASHES INTO STORE.

68 KILLED, 27 INJURED AS DC9 JET ENGINES FAIL.

New Hope, Ga. (UPI) -- A Southern Airways DC9 jet, with both engines dead and the pilot desperately trying to make an emergency landing on a twolane highway, crashed and exploded Monday in a fierce hailstorm.
Sixty-eight persons were killed and 27 others were injured when the plane smashed into a grocery store and several cars before exploding in a vacant lot.
Lt. RAYMOND McDERMID of the Georgia State Patrol, who set up a command post at the crash scene in this suburb 30 miles northwest of Atlanta, said all the bodies were taken to a makeshift morgue at a nearby warehouse. He said about 30 bodies had been identified.
Federal investigators, who began examining the wreckage this morning, said there is evidence that hail damaged the jet engines and windshield of the ill-fated plane.
There were 85 passengers and crew aboard when the plane came in for its aborted crashlanding. The big ship rared[sic] down the highway for some 300 feet, plowed through the store, smashed several cars and sheared off telephone poles and trees before the broken craft came to a halt.
The plane, Flight 242 from Huntsville and Muscle Shoals, Ala., to Atlanta, developed trouble after running into a hailstorm outside Atlanta.
DR. DARIUS SMITH, who treated both stewardesses at a hospital, said the women told him that hail began smashing against the windows of the plane with "terrible noises," and then the craft lost power.
Many residents of this community of 1,400, where 4,000 Union soldiers were killed in one of the bloodiest battles of Gen. William T. Sherman's march of Atlanta, witnessed the disaster.
"It sounded like a tornado and I screamed for everyone to run and I looked back down the highway and here come a jet plane," said MRS. MARY CLAYTON, who was working in her yard when the airliner came out of a squall at 4:20 p.m. EST.
"It was breaking apart all down the road," she said. "It was throwing pieces up in the air and they were exploding."
The pilot, Capt. WILLIAM W. McKENZIE, 54, of Laplace, La., swooped low over the New Hope Elementary School and guided the crippled craft down the narrow highway. McKENZIE died in the wreckage.
"He did a miraculous thing," Sheriff BOB SHIPP said. "He did all he could and probably lost his life doing it. He had his mind and thoughts with the people on that plane."

Continued on Page 2.

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Flight 242 southern airways

My father worked for southern airlines at this time and had actually
Just gotten off in Huntsville before this proceeded to head to Atlanta.
Then the tragic crash happened. I am so sorry to all the ones that lost their lives and for the families of those. He was Gerald Stephenson a supv. At the HSV station. Huntsville Al. I was 7 when this happened. My father passed away from Alzheimer's on Aug 8-2008.
Thanks for the blog.

Flight 242 southern airways

My father worked for southern airlines at this time and had actually
Just gotten off in Huntsville before this proceeded to head to Atlanta.
Then the tragic crash happened. I am so sorry to all the ones that lost their lives and for the families of those. He was Gerald Stephenson a supv. At the HSV station. Huntsville Al. I was 7 when this happened. My father passed away from Alzheimer's on Aug 8-2008.
Thanks for the blog.

Greetings from a Survivor

Thank you to everyone who has posted their thoughts and memories of the Southern 242 accident. I was one of the survivors and have been involved in the reunions and memorials since the first one in 1997. I welcome contact with other survivors and relatives of those who were lost in the crash. With the 40th anniversary coming up in 2017, hopefully we can get the permanent memorial built. Feel free to contact me at frclemens(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Thank You

A big thank you to all who helped compile this information, not that it's comforting, but it's information that I'm glad to have as an adult, as I was only a child when the accident happened. Kind of scary to see your name on a list of victims, even though I'm #4 and he was Jr., it still touches home.

Flight 242

My mother and I were just dropping off my sister at my Grandmothers Louis Powers(Bowman) house and starting back home when the jet went over our car at the intersection of hwy 381, and Due West road we had though we saw a passenger jump, or fall from the craft onto the parking area of the store across from the New Hope elementary school and never heard what happened to the person, we were not able to leave the area for several hours because of so many tree and power lines down so we stayed at my grandmothers home there beside Bickers store I still remember that night it changed the whole way I thought about life and how fast it can change I'm still amazed at how in the middle of all the damage our car was never touched, it still sad to think of all those who lost there lives that evening. My uncle(Lyon Abney) was one of the people in the store when the plane hit ground and his brand new car was mashed beyond recognition in front of the store I remember him complaining not of the lost of the car but the new tool set in the trunk. God bless all that were affected that evening alot of people worked very long and hard all night to help where they could.

New Hope Crash

I have a picture of that crash from my Father. Would be glad to add this image to the gallery for this event. My Dad (Dekalb County Police Chief F.D. Hand) is the one in the riot helmet in this picture:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/xpkranger/5785136306/

hi , my dad was on this

hi , my dad was on this flight he was a good man and is missed by so many . cliff Durham was my father and i thank everyone that remembers this tragic accident

242 crash

I was watching the Smithsonian channel on tv this morning and watched the details about the awful day. I have lived in Calhoun, Ga sense 1970 and for some reason neither my wife or I could remember this happening. I also saw where the church does a memorial service every 10 years. My heart went out to those who lost loved ones on this flight and on the ground.We may ride the bike to New Hope to see where this happened. May God bless each person who was effected by this crash.

GEORGE DUNCAN WILKINSON, my

GEORGE DUNCAN WILKINSON, my father died on this fateful day. Ironically, my mother , Billie Wilkinson's birthday is September 11th. I was a graduating senior at M.C.H.S. , Hartselle Highschool in Alabama , when I heard the news of flight 242 and I will never forget it. Not many days in my life have gone by without the thoughts of my dad and all those affected. I do know the loss of a loved one and that is our common bond. My thoughts and prayers go to all who have survived the ongoing loss. Sincerely, David Wilkinson

Thanks

Thank you for posting this...my father was on this flight. I was expecting my first child. He is very much missed.



article | by Dr. Radut