Little Rock, AR Air Force Cargo Plane Crashes, Aug 1978


Little Rock, Ark. (UPI) -- Eight crew members of an Air Force C-130 cargo plane were believed killed in a fiery crash on a remote, wooded hilltop in central Arkansas.
An Air Force fireman at the crash site Saturday said no crew members survived the impact that demolished the plane's fuselage, sheared off the tail section and set ablaze a three-quarter mile stretch of trees.
Witnesses later said five bodies had been recovered from the wreckage of the C-130 Hercules plane, assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base. The search for the others resumed at dawn.
But an Air Force spokesman would not confirm either report.
"We know we've got casualties. We don't know how many," Maj. CHAN SHARP said Saturday. "We don't know exactly what happened."
Names of the victims were not released.
The four-engine transport crashed about 11 p.m. Friday in a sparsely populated area about 8 1/2 miles northwest of the base in Faulkner County. Residents said they saw a fireball in the sky and heard several explosions. One woman told the sheriff's department she could see the plane burning from her home.
The plane was one of four flying in formation to practice instrument approaches at the base northwest of Little Rock. The plane, flying third in the formation, clipped a hilltop and burned, scattering wreckage throughout the woods.
A pilot from one of the other planes said he saw the fire when the C-130 crashed but had no idea what caused the accident.
Rescuers worked during the night by light beamed from helicopters hovering overhead, pulling bodies from the charred fuselage. The tail section was the only part of the plane left relatively intact.
The plane and crew were assigned to the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing at the Little Rock base. Another C-130 from the 314th crashed April 15 near Fort Irwin, Calif. Three crew members were killed and three injured.

Galveston Daily News Texas 1978-09-10