Skip to Content

Port Washington, NY Small Plane Hits Jetliner, Jan 1949


New York (AP) -- A giant airliner and a tiny private ship collided over Long Island yesterday in a fantastic accident that killed the two men in the private ship and catapulted their bodies into the airliner's hull.
Its top gashed open and its passenger cabin battered, the London-bound airliner escaped disaster and made an emergency landing with its 73 passengers and ten crewmen uninjured.
The accident occurred within minutes after the big ship, a Pan American World Airways Constellation, "Monarch of the Skies," had left LaGuardia Field at 4:17 p.m. (E.S.T.).
MALCOM WADE, co-pilot of the airliner, said there was a sound "like a tremendous tire blowout."
The big ship "shuddered and dropped" he said, before it was brought under control for a landing at Mitchell Field, an army air base 5 miles away.
There was a gaping hole in the top of the airliner, which Pan American said in a statement last night "could not have been except by a plane diving down directly from above.
The statement said:
"The engine of the light plane was found on the floor of the clipper, slightly to the right of the center of the airplane. It would appear from the position of the engine and the opening in the roof of the fuselage that the hole could not have been made except by a plane diving down directly from above."
The hole was 35 feet long and 5 feet wide, extending back on the ship from the men's room, where the small plane collided.
J. O. FLUET, regional chief of the Civil Aeronautics Board, investigated the collison, and said the pilot of the airliner had a momentary flash of a plane coming in on him -- but had no time to do anything about it.
The collision, crewmen said, ripped apart the liner's aerial, cutting its radio communications.
When the big craft circled in and landed, two tires on its wheels burst.
A short time after the crash Port Washington, N. Y., police reported that they had found parts of a third body from the crash -- lying in a street in that small north shore Long Island town.
Later, they established that the dismembered parts belonged to one of the bodies catapulted into the airliner.
The captain of the airliner GEORGE KNUTH, said the small craft "flew into the top" of his plane.
Pan American tentatively identified the two bodies hurled into the airliner as those of ARTHUR DUTTING, Portland, Conn., and EUGENE KOXALCZRK, Middletown, Conn.
The airline said the two men were aboard the private plane when it left Connecticut yesterday morning to fly over New York.
A Nassau County state police officer said bodies of two of the small plane's occupants were taken from the airliner when it landed.

The Troy Record New York 1949-01-31

article | by Dr. Radut