Anchorage, AK Weather Plane Crashes, Aug 1956
EIELSON B-50 CRASHES; 11 DEAD.
SEARCH TEAM FIND 9 BODIES; WRECK SCENE NEAR ANCHORAGE
Cause of Accident Unknown; Aircraft Carried Full Complement of Crewmen, Including Meteorogofists, Observers.
An Air Force B-50 of the 58th Weather Reconnaissance squadron at Eielson Air Force base crashed early this morning northwest of Anchorage reportedly killing instantly the 11 men aboard.
The Air Force information services office at Anchorage said the plane went down on an island in the Susitna river near Willow, on the Alaska Railroad. No precise information was available immediately on the cause of the accident.
Rescue Units Sent.
Rescue units of the 71st Air Rescue squadron at Elmendorf Air Force base at Anchorage were dispatched to the scene of the crash.
The B-50, a large version of the B-29, took off from Eielson on a routine "Loon" weather mission at 2 a.m. this morning carrying a normal load of 11 men including weather observers and meteorologists. Names of crew members have not been revealed pending notification of next of kin.
THE AIR FORCE ANNOUNCED AT 1 P.M. TODAY THAT NINE MEN HAD DEFINITELY DIED IN THE CRASH, AND IT "WAS PROBABLE" THAT THE TWO OTHERS NOT ACCOUNTED FOR ALSO WERE KILLED.
The 58th Weather Reconnaissance squadron maintains a regular schedule of "Ptarmigan" hops into the polar regions and "Loon" flights out over the Aleutian chain to predetermine weather conditions for Air Force flying in Alaska.
The safety record on these flights has been excellent. The last crash where there was a fatality was in September, 1953, when a weather observer died after a plane crashed on take-off from Eielson.
Headed for Anchorage.
Maj. JOHN ORR said that after the aircraft took off from Eielson, it proceeded toward Anchorage. It was last heard from at 3:20 a.m. today, when it reported over Talkeetna. Apparently the crash took place almost immediately after that report. ORR, public information officer at Eielson, happened to be at Elmendorf at the time of the accident.
The wreckage was found scattered over a wide area on an island in the Susitna. The sandy island is about 10 miles long. Immediately after reaching the scene, searchers found five bodies. Others were being sought.
Search for the giant aircraft opened about 5 a.m. today, after the plane had been unreported for several hours. A search plane from the 71st Air Rescue Service at Elmendorf field sighted the wreckage at 8:40 this morning.
Air Force Identifies Victims
Washington, Sept. 1 (AP) -- The Air Force today identified the 11 crew men aboard the B-50 weather plane which crashed yesterday on an island in the Susitna river northwest of Anchorage. All were officially listed as missing, although bodies of 10 have been recovered. The crew:
Capt. LEONARD N. CHAPMAN, JR., husband of Mrs. Marther J. Chapman, and son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard N. Chapman, Sr., Dayton, Ohio. (Wife and four children live in Lemeta.)
Capt. EVERETT DYSON, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert M. Dyson, Tadares, Fla.
1st Lt. WILLIAM W. FAUSTLINE, JR., son of Mr. and Mrs. William W. Faultline, Sr., St. Joseph, Mo.
M/Sgt. FRED T. GREGG, JR., husband of Mrs. Dorothy B. Gregg, Los Angeles, Calif., and son of Fred T. Gregg, Sr., of the same address.
Maj. DALE RICHARDSON, husband of Mrs. Minnie L. Richardson, Arlington, Va., and son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank S. Richardson, Wood, S. D.
A 2/C MELVIN O. LINDSAY, son of Mr. Odell M. Lindsay, Brooklyn, N. Y., Mrs. Theressa Weaver, Alexandria, Va.
A2/C DOUGLAS W. MAXON, son of Mr. and Mrs. Merle D. Maxon, Park Falls, Wis.
S/Sgt. RONALD R. RAGLAND, son of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd S. Ragland, Little Rock, Ark.
A2/C ELIJAH SPENCER, son of Mrs. Lucy O. Spencer, Goulds, Fla.
1st Lt. WILLIAM J. WOLTERS, JR., son of Mr. and Mrs. William J. Wolters, Sr., Merrick, N. Y.
T/Sgt. RICHARD K. BROWN, of the Northern Operation Center at McClellan Air Force Base, Calif., where his wife is living. BROWN'S mother is Mrs. Blanche E. Brown, Denver, Colo.
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Alaska 1956-08-31