Seattle, WA Service Men Die In Transport Crash, Nov 1955
CHARTER LINE WITH 27 DEAD FACES INQUIRY.
Seattle (AP) -- A chartered airliner loaded with GIs homeward bound for the Thanksgiving holidays crashed shortly after takeoff Friday and at least 27 persons died as it exploded and burned.
Forty-seven others including the three-man crew survived the crash.
The four-engined DC4, a non-scheduled airliner chartered to the Army by the Peninsular Air Transport Co., of Miami Springs, Fla., carried 66 servicemen who came home from the Far East Thursday.
Also aboard, in addition to the crew, were a woman and three children and a reserve pilot.
The crash was the second in the West in less than 24 hours. Fourteen were aboard a C54 which crashed in Nevada Thursday.
Friday's crash came brief minutes after the plane left Boeing Field on a flight to Chicago, its first scheduled stop. The ship plowed into a hillside in a residential district, broke into pieces and burst into flames. A huge chunk hit the rear of a house where a mother and her five children were sleeping. They escaped uninjured.
EUGENE CASEY, 19, of Chicago, one of the survivors, said he was seated on the left side of the plane near the emergency door when it hit.
CASEY suffered shock and severe burns. He said the takeoff had been delayed by a snowstorm which had covered the Seattle area during the day.
As it neared the crash site, he said, the "whole plane started jarring. I saw wires snap."
"I don't know how I got out. I walked right through the fire."
"I crawled and the man in front of me was screaming. I was afraid I'd fall down. I wouldn't be able to go on."
"Some GI stumbled down and I grabbed him. I started screaming."
CASEY said he started walking and crawling to a nearby house.
"I didn't think I'd make it. I never screamed or prayed so hard in all my life."
Part of the plane came to rest in the yard of Mrs. Donald Renard. Mrs. Renard said there was a "terrific explosion," and "the next minute my yard was full of soldiers."
Every available ambulance was sent to the scene and the injured were rushed to three hospitals.
The soldiers were among the 2,833 who arrived here Thursday on the transport Gen. R. L. Howze from the Far East.
There were few witnesses to the take off and crash.
Herbert Gardiner, a Boeing Airplane Co., employe, told of hearing the plane pass over. He said one of the engines sounded "flat," and no exhaust was visible from another engine.
Gardiner said the plane seemed to be about 150 feet off the ground ... "Much too low, considering the distance it had traveled from the field."
E. J. Rice, who lives nearby, said as he watched a wing clipped a tree and the plane tipped. The lower wing struck some tool sheds and a garage and the plane skidded into a tree.
The Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1955-11-18