Charlotte, NC Jet Crash Kills Sixty Nine, Sep 1974
FIERY CHARLOTTE JET CRASH KILLS SIXTY NINE PERSONS
Charlotte, N. C. (AP) -- An Eastern Airlines jet attempting to land at fog-shrouded Douglas Municipal Airport plowed into a wooded hillside early Wednesday, killing 69 persons.
Among the dead were the acting commandant of the 6th Naval District in Charleston, S. C., three production executives of the Charleston newspapers and a Charleston television news director.
Also killed was JOHN MERRIMAN, news editor for Walter Cronkite's CBS Evening News in New York.
The plane Eastern Flight 212, originated in Charleston and was making a stop in Charlotte before going on to Chicago.
ED SLATTERY a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said both ot the plane's recorders had been recovered and were en route to Washington in an effort to determine the cause of the crash.
JIM ASHLOCK of Miami, Eastern's public relations director, said mystery surrounded the crash. He said the craft had been given clearance to land just moments before it plummeted into the hillside two miles from the airfield.
A morgue was set up at the National Guard Armory near the airport.
DR. LINDA NORTON, pathologist with the state medical examiner's office, said the morgue was in total confusion as the bodies began to arrive in refrigerated trucks.
She said none of the bodies had been identified early Wednesday night.
The FBI was at the morgue and in charge of the identification process.
One of the survivors, stewardess COLLETTE WATSON, walked from the wreckage with only minor injuries. She was given medical attention and was released from a Charlotte hospital.
Another survivor, ROBERT BURNHAM of Charleston, said he thought he was thrown from the plane a DC9-30.
"We were coming in and the pilot seemed to pick up power. It was real foggy. I felt one wing tip (down) then it hit some trees and I felt heat." BURNHAM said.
"I must have been thrown out of the plane. I got up, looked around and started running toward the woods."
Rescue workers found bodies and survivors scattered hundreds of yards from the plane. Pieces of clothing were found in the brush and trees.
An Eastern spokesman said the plane was making an instrument landing using a straight-in approach.
"We do not know the exact cause of the accident. However, there was a heavy ground fog," said WILLIAM RAWLINGS. Eastern's district sales manager.
JIM STANLEY, who lives near the crash area, was one of the first persons to reach the wreckage. He said the plane was torn apart and was burning.
"The first thing I saw was people lying on the ground. This girl was lying beside the fuselage and had burns from head to toe, but she was alive," STANLEY said.
"She was screaming real loud and I got sick. There was a man lying near her. His chest and his face were all messed up. I ran between the two burning sections of the plane. The ground was still on fire but it was burning down," STANLEY said.
Police, who blocked all traffic in a two-mile radius, said the plane appeared to have exploded after landing.
C. T. McCUISTON, whose home is about a half-mile from the crash scene, said he heard "a muffled explosion."
JOHN SHOCKLEY, who works at the airport, said he arrived at the scene about 10 minutes after the crash and saw four men walking around in a daze. "They were scarred and bruised."
"I talked to one of the survivors and he told me he was dozing in the plane when all of a sudden he was flying through the air. He was skinned but not burned."
JOHN McDOWELL, who lives near the ravine where the plane crashed, drove his farm tractor to the scene and carried five survivors to safety. He said he saw "a tremendous column of smoke and heard the screaming and yelling and crying. It was hysterical."
The jet's pilot was Capt. J. E. REEVES, 48, and the other flight attendant was E. A. KERTH. Both were based in Atlanta.
Rescue workers set up a morgue at the National Guard Armory near the airport.
It was the worst air disaster in North Carolina since July 19, 1967 when a Piedmont 727 and a private plane collided over Hendersonville with a loss of 82 lives.
In Charleston, Navy sources said Rear Adm. CHARLES W. CUMMINGS, acting commandant of the 6th Naval District, had boarded the plane Wednesday morning. He was not among the survivors.
Also boarding the plane and presumed dead were three executives of the Charleston News and Courier and Evening Post: C. F. McDONALD, circulation manager; LEWIS WESTON, production superintendent, and JACK SANDERS, the mail room foreman.
Charleston television station WCIV said WAYNE SEAL, the station's news director and anchorman, also was a passenger.
None of them was among the known survivors.
SURVIVORS OF AIR CRASH LISTED.
Charlotte, N. C. (AP) -- Here is a list of the 13 survivors of an Eastern Airlines DC9 plane crash near Charlotte Wednesday morning.
All were taken to Charlotte Memorial Hospital with the exception of a stewardess, identified as COLLETTE WATSON of Atlanta. She was treated and released at Presbyterian Hospital.
RICHARD ARNOLD, 803 IBM, Columbia, S. C., fair, 40 per cent burns, transferred by Army helicopter to Medical College of South Carolina at Charleston.
FRANCIS MINALEK, Charleston, satisfactory, 5 to 10 per cent burns, also transferred by Army helicopter to Medical College of South Carolina hospital.
ROBERT BURNHAM, 1719 Weston Ave., Charleston, Navy, satisfactory, 4 to 5 per cent burns, to be transferred to Charleston by ambulance Wednesday night.
JAMES DANIELS, 36, co-pilot, 1665 Baibridge Way, Roswell, Ga., satisfactory, two fractured legs.
ROY HENDRIX, 520 Idaho Ave., Charleston, Navy, satisfactory, 10 to 12 per cent burns, being transferred to Charleston by ambulance Wednesday night.
SCOTT R. JOHNSON, Park Street Extension, Brandon, Vt., Navy, satisfactory, 35 per cent burns, admitted.
DEBORA SANDERS, Box 165, Sherman, N. Y., critical, 90 per cent burns, admitted.
JAMES L. SCHULTZE, 108 Twowood Court, Summerville, S.C., Navy, fair, 23 per cent burns, admitted.
DR. WILLIAM SHELLEY, 2900 Wheelock Dr., Charlotte, chief pathologist at Charlotte Memorial Hospital, critical, left leg amputated, 50 per cent burns, admitted.
DIANE TRACY, 2750 Maplewood Dr., Columbus, Ohio, critical, 90 per cent burns, admitted.
JOHN TOOHEY, 1 Polk Street, Charleston, Navy, satisfactory, 5 per cent burns being transferred to Charleston by ambulance Wednesday night.
CHARLES WEAVER, 305 Farrington Dr., Summerville, S. C., satisfactory, 5 per cent burns, returning home with family Thursday.
REVISED PASSENGER LIST FROM CHARLOTTE CRASH AIRED.
Charlotte (AP) -- Here is a revised list of passengers and crew members who are presumed dead in the crash Wednesday of Eastern Airlines Flight 212 near Charlotte's Douglas Municipal Airport. Information was supplied by ticket lists and military and local sources.
Capt. J. E. REEVES, pilot, Atlanta.
E. A. KERTH, flight attendant, Atlanta.
DAVID BALL, Charleston, S. C.
W. BASTIAN, Charleston, S. C.
Sgt. CURTIS JOHN W. BOLIN, Charleston, S. C.
MRS. STEFANIE RATLIFF BOLIN, Charleston, S. C.
JACK A. CANFIELD, Charleston, S. C.
A. CARPENTER, Charleston, S. C.
GEORGE W. CARSWELL, Summerville, S. C.
DR. JAMES COLBERT, Charleston, S. C.
PAUL COLBERT, Charleston, S. C.
PETER COLBERT, Charleston, S. C.
Rear Adm. CHARLES W. CUMMINGS, Charleston, S. C.
DR. ALAN DIMOCK, Charlottesville, Va.
DAVID S. FLINTON, Charleston, S. C.
FRANK FORD, JR., Charleston, S. C.
MICHAEL GAGNON, Charleston, S. C.
ED A. GIBSON, Charleston, S. C.
HARRY E. GRADY, JR., Charleston, S. C.
Cmdr. JACK HOEL, Charleston, S. C.
W. R. JENNINGS.
WILLIAM AMOS JOHNSON, JR., Charleston, S. C.
S. M. LANE, Villa Park, Ill.
JOHN DEAKIN, Charleston, S. C.
PAUL MERGENTHAL, Charleston, S. C.
JOHN MERRIMAN, New York City.
MARTIN McCARTER, Charleston, S. C.
HENRY EUGENE McFALL, Summerville, S. C.
CHARLES F. McDONALD, Charleston, S. C.
HAROLD S. NEWTON, Charleston, S. C.
DR. WALTER E. NOREN, Charlotte, N. C.
LOUIS PINHIERO, Charleston, S. C.
R. E. ROSS.
JACK SANDERS, Charleston, S. C.
WAYNE SEAL, Charleston, S. C.
Cmdr. JOHN RUSSELL SAPKO, Charleston, S. C.
EDWIN J. TORRHILL, III, Charleston, S. C.
Capt. FELIX VECCHIONE, Charleston, S. C.
LEWIS WESTON, Charleston, S. C.
J. O. WILLIAMS.
MRS. B. BERKHOLDER.
MRS. S. BRUMMER.
MRS. DORA FLINTON, Charleston, S. C.
MRS. C. HOTECK.
MRS. K. OSTTREIM.
MRS. JOANNE PHILLIPS, Willilams, S. C.
MISS J. CARTY.
MISS VICTORIA JOHNSTON, Charleston, S. C.
MISS J. SHAW.
MISS MARTHA J. SLOAN, Charleston, S. C.
Florence Morning News South Carolina 1974-09-12