Melbourne, FL Chartered Plane Crashes, July 1947
21 KILLED IN PLANE CRASH.
2 OF 12 SURVIVORS MAY DIE; PLANE WAS ON CHARTERED FLIGHT.
Melbourne, Fla. (AP) -- Twenty-one persons were killed Sunday in the crash of a DC-3 chartered airliner in swampy wastelands near here, and today 12 remained unidentified mainly because of a confusion in Spanish names.
The death toll was expected to mount with two of the 13 injured on the "critical" list.
The plane, en route from Newark, N. J., to Miami with 36 persons aboard -- a crew of five and 31 home-bound Puerto Ricans -- cut a 300-foot swath through the scrub pine six miles from this Florida east coast town as it ploughed to earth shortly after 3:20 a.m. (CST).
Civil aeronautics authority investigators reached the scene early but would not comment on their findings.
The plane had last been heard from as it passed over Jacksonville, Fla., after leaving Augusta, Ga.
Names Baffle Officials.
Similarity in the names of the Puerto Ricans, a number of whom were young children carried in the arms of parents and not listed as passengers, and the inability of the survivors to speak English, hampered identification of the dead.
The bodies of those killed were brought in trucks to the Browley funeral home where they overflowed into a garage.
A member of the Puerto Rican resident commissioner's office in Washington was expected here this morning to help with the identification.
Two children escaped injury. One was a boy JOSE RODRIGUEZ, 2, whose mother, PURA RODRIGUEZ, is not expected to live. The other child was ELLEN ACEVDO, 5.
Besides PURA RODRIGUEZ, the other passenger on the critical list is CARMEN RODRIGUEZ.
Among the dead were the pilot, Capt. HENRY HEIN, 36, of Houston, Texas, and the co-pilot, RODERICK PAUL MacKINNON, formerly of Rochester, N. Y.
First rescue workers to plough through the knee-deep water reported the injured and dead tangled inside and out of the craft. One survivor was reported found 300 feet from the wreckage, 10 feet up a tree and hugging the trunk.
FRANK GONZALEZ, 12, whose left leg was broken, told reporters "it was dark and we were flying along and the motor stopped. Everything was quiet. We slowed down. The next minute we crashed."
Flight engineer WALLACE IRWIN who was supposed to have joined the flight crew at Agusta, Ga., was reported to have overslept, and missed the trip.
The plane was owned by the Burke air lines of Miami and was licensed to carry 25 passengers and a crew of three.
Iowa City Press-Citizen Iowa 1947-07-14