Ridgeway, SC Army Transport Plane Crash, June 1964
7 KILLED, 22 INJURED IN PLANE CRASH.
TRAGEDY CLOUDS MILITARY MANEUVERS.
Ridgeway (AP) -- Make-believe military maneuvers became grim and tragic reality late Wednesday night when an Army transport plane crashed near Ridgeway, killing seven soldiers and injuring 22.
The casualties were all assigned to Ft. Benning, Ga., and were participating in exercise Hawk Star 1.
The twin-engine Caribou crashed and burst into flames in a farm field shortly after takeoff. An investigation was immediately launched into the cause of the crash.
Of the 21 persons aboard the aircraft, six were killed and 15 were injured. One soldier on the ground was also killed. Seven soldiers who were camping out in the field were injured.
The dead were identified as:
Sp. 5 CHARLES J. BILSKIE, Vincennes, Ind.
Sp. 6 ROBERT W. WEBSTER, Upland, Calif.
1st Lt. ROBERT G. DASSLER.
CWO CHARLES D. MARTIN.
Sp. 4 BRANDON W. MILLS.
Capt. RONALD ESTES, all of Columbus, Ga.
Two of the injured were in serious condition.
Sp. 5 ALVIN M. CLECKLY, 31, Seale, Ala.
Sp. 5 DONALD WHITTINGTON, 21, Lisbon, Ohio.
The injured were taken by helicopter from the crash site to Ft. Jackson Army Hospital near Columbia. Most of them were treated for burns, cuts, bruised and minor fractures.
Among the other injured was Sp. 5 LEON HART of 907 Crowley St., Hartsville. No other Pee Dee area persons were listed as having been involved last night.
"There were many individual acts of heroism," observed Army personnel at the crash scene.
One surviving occupant, Sp. 5 LEON HART of Hartsville, S. C., said it was WEBSTER'S alertness in turning on the plane's exterior lights and opening the escape hatch which probably kept down the death toll on the plane.
"There was a severe jar, the left wing caught in a tree," said HART. "The plane sort of lifted up its left side and then settled down. It immediately burst into flames, but because the crew chief had been able to get the doors open, we could just jump out."
Florence Morning News South Carolina 1964-06-26