Sacramento, CA Bomber Crashes Into Guard House, Jan 1952
FIVE KILLED AS BOMBER HITS GUARD HOUSE.
50 INJURED AS PLANE CRASHES IN CALIFORNIA.
Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 19 (AP) -- A crippled AIr Force bomber crash-landed today atop a crowded guard house at Mather Air Force base and exploded, turning the building into a "flaming matchbox."
Five men were killed and 50 injured enough to spend the night in a base hospital. Six of the injured were reported in serious condition.
The five men dead and most of those burned were guard house prisoners. They returned from lunch to the one-room building just in time to be caught in a fiery trap.
The B-25 was forced to land when one of its two engines failed. Its three crewmen were among those injured.
Fifty yards away, 16-year-old CONNIE SCHOLTEN, daughter of a service chaplain, watched in horror.
"I ran outside," she said, "and saw the plane doing a cartwheel on the roof of the guard house. Then men began running in and out of the center. Nothing happened for some time, and then the plane went up in smoke and flames."
One man was reported atop the plane when it exploded -- about 10 minutes after the awkward landing on the roof.
Chaplain HOWARD B. SCHOLTEN, father of CONNIE, said the 30 x 100 foot barracks-type building "looked like a matchbox somebody had stepped on."
"I didn't hear any screaming or hollering at all," the chaplain added.
"I was coming in for a landing when one of my motors went out and we pancaked on top of a building," gasped the pilot, Second Lt. PETER A. KECK, who is suffering from shock, cuts and burns.
His injured crew members were the co-pilot, Lt. ROBERT C. GROUT, and Technical Sgt. ROBERT HARRAH.
There are several other buildings near the guard house at the Teeming air base, 10 miles east of Sacramento, but only the guard house was affected.
Mather field is a training base for bombardiers, navigators and radar men.
The crash occurred at 2 p.m. (5 p.m. EST).
Names of the dead were not released immediately.
Col. JOHN W. WHITE took over command of the Air Force base today -- just in time to help in the rescue. His hands were burned and had to be bandaged.
Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1952-01-20