Hanford, CA (near) Transport Plane Crash, Nov 1944

24 KILLED IN VALLEY CRASH OF S. F. PLANE.

Hanford, Nov. 4. -- (UP) -- A Transcontinental and Western Air Lines transport flying from San Francisco to Burbank, crashed and burned in a field northeast of here tonight, killing 24 persons.
Four of the bodies were women.
Searching parties, painstakingly covering the rain soaked fields with the aid of flashlights, had found 22 bodies, including those of four women.
T.W.A. officials in San Francisco announced that Flight 8, en route to Burbank, was overdue and that 24 persons were aboard.
J. S. Bartels, regionial manager at Burbank, reported that T.W.A. officials were en route to the scene to investigate. The plane was identified by T.W.A. as a Douglas DC-3 twin-engined transport carrying 21 passengers and a crew of three.
Witnesses aiding in the search for bodies reported that the body of the stewardess, clad in a uniform bearing the T.W.A. insignia, was found near the plane, which was also marked as a T.W.A. craft.
They reported that both civilians and servicemen were in the group.
In addition to the stewardess, one of the women's bodies was in the uniform of a SPAR, one was a Navy nurse and one a civilian.
Of the male passengers whose bodies had been taken into Hanford there were two soldiers, one marine, four Navy men and four civilians.
Harold Anderson, Hanford, who was driving toward the city, reported the crash.
"The plane seemed to disintegrate in the air," Anderson said. "I was driving along when pieces of the plane fell around my car. A mail sack and motor parts dropped right in front of me. I looked up to see the fuselage of the plane plummet into the field and burst into flames."
T.W.A. officials in San Francisco said the passenger list would be released from their Kansas City, Mo. offices. Names of military personnel would not be released pending Washington approval, they said.

T.W.A. LISTS NAMES OF 3 OF CREW ABOARD.
Burbank, Nov. 4. -- (UP) -- The flight No. 8 from San Francisco to Burbank is overdue and missing. J. S. Barteles, regional operations manager, said tonight, and it is presumed that a plane reported crashed near Hanford, Calif., by the sheriff there, is the missing plane.
Bartels listed:
Capt. ALFRED T. BETHEL, Burbank, Calif., Pilot.
First Officer GEORGE E. SMITH, Hollywood, Calif., Co-Pilot.
Air Hostess RUTH MILLER, North Hollywood.

Oakland Tribune California 1944-11-05

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5 COAST GURAD MEN AMONG 24 DEAD ON PLANE.

Mills Field, Nov. 6. -- Twenty-four persons unknowingly kept a rendezvous with death when they boarded a Transcontinental and Western air liner here a 1 o'clock Saturday afternoon. Bound on a regular flight for Burbank, the huge plane crashed near Hanford, Kings county, in the San Joaquin valley, shortly after Flight Captain A. T. BETHEL had radioed his position to Burbank.
The dead included 20 members of the armed forces, the crew of three and one civilian, DR. B. D. SAKLATWALLA of Pittsburgh, Pa., a consulting engineer in meteorology. The crew members who perished were BETHEL, First Officer C. E. SMITH and Hostess RUTH MILLER, all of Los Angeles.
Names of five members of the U.S. coast guardsmen aboard the liner were released today. Coast guardsmen killed were:
Lt. Cmdr. L. F. HARRINGTON, Dorchester, Mass.
KENNETH L. ZOOK, Kingsford Heights, Ind.
GEORGE E. LANG, St. Louis.
JAMES K. DEANS, Tilden, Ill.
GEORGE GREENE, Chicago.
No rank was given for those other than Lt. Cmdr. HARRINGTON.
TWA officials, who released the names, said army and navy officers were awaiting notification of next of kin before announcing the names of the remaining 15 service personnel.
Joint investigations of the fatal crash were under way today by the civil aeronautics bureau and Kings county authorities and a further investigation by war and navy departments is expected.
The plane was proceeding southward in storm conditions that included lightning as well as heavy rain. The storm made the identification of the victims difficult when rescuers reached wreckage of the air liner after the crash. The huge ship was smashed to bits by impact of the crash and the debris was strewn over a wide area.
The forward section of the plane, in which the bodies of the pilot and co-pilot were trapped, was found nearly a half mile from the tail assembly. A blanket bearing TWA markings droopped on the porch of Estodo Vega a mile from the crash scene.
The crash occurred during a heavy rainstorm.

San Mateo Times California 1944-11-06