Longmont, CO Jet Explosion, Nov 1955
Priest Gives Last Rites
A young Roman Catholic priest moved through the area administering the last sacrament, guided only by a flashlight.
HEIL said he and his family heard "sort of an explosion" and added;
"Then we ran outside and it looked to us like a skyrocket. It sounded like the motor was still running after the first explosion. Minutes after the plane hit there was another explosion."
He told his story to JIM MATLACK, co-publisher of the Longmont Times-Call and one of the first outsiders to reach the scene.
"There was nothing we could do but cover up the bodies," MATLACK said. "There wasn't a sign of life."
He and HEIL reported that as far as they could determine, no bodies were burned.
Farm Boy Saw Red Flame
A 12-year-old farm boy, CHARLES DALPRA, was at his home some five miles away and suddenly saw a "red flame" in the sky. He told a reporter "it kept getting bigger" then he heard a noise. He told his father, GILBERT DALPRA, who added he first thought the youngster "was imagining things."
Colorado highway patrolmen, sheriff's officers, local police, civil defense workers and volunteer firemen rushed to the scene from over the agricultural community. Ambulances came in from several towns.
Coroner H. ROSS ADAMSON, of Greeley was an early arrival at the scene but declined to hazard an immediate opinion of the wreck's cause.
Initial efforts to determine the cause of the wreck were launched under lights of portable electric plants as tumbleweeds blew across the scene.
Air Disaster Inquiry Crew Being Chosen
All bodies were removed from the scene of the crash around 7:30 Wednesday morning. Then the long wait for the investigating crews began. The Civil Aeronautics authorities held a meeting in Denver early Wednesday morning to pick investigation crews.
Earlier Wednesday morning a huge crane shook apart what was left of the front of the body of the plane to remove what mail and luggage it could. Other than that all parts remain as they were when they hit. All main sections of the plane are roped off to prevent people from getting in an disturbing anything.
The National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, numerous United Airlines workers and the State Patrol all were stationed in the area to prevent any part from being disturbed. No one is allowed on the section where most of the pieces of the plane lay. Only photographers and reporters were allowed near the scene.
United set up a restricted headquarters for the guards to relax. There is a bus for the men to get in out of the cold. A snack bar has been set up outside by a small fire to serve the men sandwiches and coffee while they get warm.
A slight wind was blowing off the snow-covered Rockies and the temperature was low enough to freeze coffee spilled on the snack table.
To make the guards' jobs easier, people are asked to stay away from the scene.
The only part of the plane that remained intact was the tail assembly, which was found over a mile south of the rest of the rubble. Other parts are strewn from the landing place of the tail to the resting place of the front of the body, which was the part that was demolished by the crane.
Looking over the fields, one can see tires and parts of the framework. The power units of the plane landed some 20 feet apart and dug 10 to 15 feet deep holes. They were still flaming late Wednesday morning.
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