Bridgeport, TX Two Air Force Plane Collide, Mar 1958
18 KILLED AT BRIDGEPORT AS TWO AF PLANES COLLIDE.
Bridgeport, Tex. (AP) -- One or both of two Air Force planes that collided as dusk gathered yesterday broke assigned altitudes, Civial Aeronautics Administration reports indicated today.
All 18 servicemen aboard died as the crippled plane "fell like flakes of sheet iron."
The CAA reported that the smaller craft was assigned to 8,000 feet altitude and the larger one to 7,000.
In a strange turn of the cards, the planes apparently were seeking greater visibility and safety by dipping below an overcast.
They were so low the occupants had no chance to parachute.
One was a huge C124 Globemaster based at Hill Air Force Base, Salt Lake City, Utah.
The other was a C119 cargo plane based at Carswell Air Force Base, the great Strategic Air Command installation at Fort Worth, 45 miles southeast of here.
The Globemaster carried a crew of 10, and five passengers picked up at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City.
The C119 took off from Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Tex., for Carswell AFB.
The planes fell within about 600 yards of each other in rugged scrub oak country cut by ravines and gullies.
The C124 burned fiercely. Pools of molten metal glimmered around the wreckage. The C119 did not burn.
BILL CARLTON, Bridgeport, saw the falling wreckage from his car.
"It looked like great big flakes of sheet iron falling. You coulnd't tell it was a plane," he said.
C. L. HILL, also of Bridgeport, said, "The plane coming from the south hit the wing of the one from the east (the C124)."
HILL said the C119 "fell straight down" but that the C124 "came on and it looked like he tried to pull out. Finally it came to pieces on him."
DOYLE HOOD, a Bridgeport High School athletic coach, said an explosion occurred in one plane.
The C119 struck a plowed field, missing W. J. MANN by only a few feet. It ricocheted into a wooded area, MANN was plowing with a tractor.
Debris from the C124 spread over an area a mile and a half in all directions.
MANN did not hear the air collision possibly because of the noise of his machine.
"I just looked up and the plane was falling all around me," MANN, a dairy farmer, recounted.
MRS. MANN said, "My husband found one body at once, but did not find the other two for some time. They were a considerable distance away -- mayber a quarter of a mile." The plane disintegrated.
AF NAMES VICTIMS OF AIR CRASH.
Hill Air Force Base, Utah (AP) -- The Air Force here today released names of victims in the crash yesterday of a C124 and C119 near Bridgeport, Tex.
On the C124, all members of the Logistic Support Squadron here, were:
Capt. WILBURN D. CARRIGAN, commander, Clearfield, Utah; wife, Ida Jean Carrigan; home, East St. Louis, Ill.
Capt. LOVELACE D. BODINE, JR., co-pilot, Layton, Utah; wife, Emma Florence Bodine; home, Bloomfield, Ky.
Sgt. LEONARD A. LYNAM, engineer, Layton, Utah; wife, Catherine Alice Lynam; home, Cheshire, Mass.
Sgt. HERBERT S. YARLETT, loadmaster, Layton, Utah; wife, Virginia Lee Yarlett; home, Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Sgt. BRUCE H. SPRAGUE, flight mechanic, Ogden, Utah; wife, Arla Sprague; home, Cheshire, Mass.
Airman ROGER D. THOMAS, radio operator, Sunset, Utah; wife, Anita Mary Thomas; home, San Jose, Calif.
Airman GEORGE A. SIMMONS, loadmaster, Ogden, Utah; wife, Louis Simmons; home, Robbins, N. C.
Airman HAROLD L. RUGGLES, flight mechanic, Colorado Springs, Colo.; mother, Gladys May Ruggles.
Airman JACKIE L. MYERS, flight mechanic, Baltimore, Md.; mother, Bessie E. Myers.
Officer at Hill said names of the other five men aboard the Globemaster were not immediately available. They were picked up at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Tex., by the C124.
Officials at Hill said they were awaiting word from Carswell Air Force Base before the 10 are officially declared dead. The next of kin have been told their husbands or sons are officially missing.
Carswell Air Force Base at Fort Worth issued this list of victims aboard the C119 based there:
Capt. H. J. THOMAS, pilot, Fort Worth; home, Des Moines, Iowa.
Sgt. C. T. SLAGGLE, flight engineer, Fort Worth; home, Seymour, Tex.
Lt. V. T. WHITE, JR., copilot, home, Cut Bank, Mont.
Abeline Reporter News Texas 1958-03-28
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!