Mason City, IA Plane Crashes On Landing, Aug 1954
OPEN PROBE OF AIRLINER CRASH.
IOWA STORM DOWNS DC3; ELEVEN DIE.
TWO FROM VINTON ARE KILLED; 8 PERSONS ARE HOSPITALIZED.
Mason City (AP) -- A Braniff International Airways DC3, warned not to land here because of a wild storm, crashed into a pasture Sunday, killing 11 of the 19 persons aboard. Eight were injured, two critically.
Two of the dead were from Vinton and had boarded the plane at Waterloo, the last stop before the crash.
They were MRS. LOGAN URICE, 67, and MISS MARY HOLM, 19.
Braniff officials from Dallas and WILLIAM GOLDSTEIN for the Kansas City office of the Civil Aeronautics Board began an investigation Monday and went first to the crash scene.
Landing Gear Down.
One Iowa aeronautics official, who declined to be quoted by name, said his preliminary on-the-scene study tended to show the plane's landing gear was down when the plane hit the earth.
"If the pilot had been attempting an emergency landing" the official said, "he would have pulled up his landing gear and tried to slide in on the plane's belly."
He theorized the plane "simply was forced down by storm conditions."
LYLE D. LYONS, 24, of La Crosse, Wis., an airman from Bergstrom air force base at Austin, Texas, who survived the crash, told his parents the plane was coming down "through what seemed like a solid, black cloud" when the cloud suddenly turned yellow and "we felt a terrific, awful bump."
The plane, northbound from Memphis to Minneapolis, was only about 10 minutes out from the field, Braniff officials said, when they radioed it to hold off landing because of the storm.
The field never received an answer, airline officials reported.
The plane crashed on the farm of HAROLD MARKWARDT 4 1/2 miles south of Swaledale.
Debris from the crash was spread along a line of more than 500 feet. Police said the plane apparently struck the ground, then bounced for some distance. The plane was demolished, only the tail section remaining relatively intact.
The plane's pilot, Capt. W. A. PICKERING, 40, of Parkville, Mo., died at the scene of the crash.
The co-pilot, W. B. WILDE, 31, of Minneapolis, died a short time later at the Hampton hospital.
The hostess, MISS BETTY ANN TRULY, 23, of Kansas City and Shreveport, La., was reported in fair condition at Mercy hospital in Mason City.
MARQUARDT, who drove stewardess TRULY and MISS EVANS to the Mason City hospital, said MISS EVANS told him she and MISS TRULY were trying to strap into his seat a male passenger when the crash occurred. She said the passenger had become hysterical during the storm.
"It got a little rough, then the ceiling came down on my head," MARQUARDT quoted MISS EVANS as saying. He said MISS TRULY was conscious only part of the time enroute to Mason City and that at times she would ask to go back to the plane.
Cut Through Wreckage.
Rescue workers had to cut through the tangled wreckage with torches to free some of the passengers. The workers said there were repeated cries of "Get us out! Get us out!"
After the dead and injured were removed, Iowa national guardsmen moved in to keep spectators from the scene.
In Dallas, Braniff officials said it was the first fatal crash of one of the line's planes since 1939, when four were killed at Oklahoma City.
It was only the second time in Iowa history that a commercial airliner has crashed with any loss of life within the state's borders. The first time was in March, 1951, when a Mid-Continent airlines plane crashed in a snow storm at Sioux City, killing 16.
MRS. URICE, 67, of Vinton, who died of a fractured skull in Sunday's plane crash near Mason City, was enroute to Spokane, Wash., to visit her son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Logan K. Urice, and to see a new grandchild.
Born of a farm between Chelsea and Belle Plaine, she was the youngest of a family of 12 children. She was graduated from Iowa State college in 1909 and then attended the University of Chicago, where she received her master's degree in home economics.
She taught school in Vinton for several years before her marriage in 1917. MR. URICE retired as Vinton postmaster Dec. 31, 1953, and the couple had bought a farm southeast of Vinton.
MRS. URICE was a member of the Presbyterian church, the Order of Eastern Star and was active in farm youth work. In addition to her husband and her son in Spokane, she is survived by another son, Kadel, of Vinton; two daughters, Mrs. Ruth Keeton, who is now in Germany with her husband, an instructor in the re-education system in that country, and MRS. JOHN DRILLING of Vinton, Second district Democratic committeewoman, and four grandsons.
The body is at the Fry-Holland funeral home. Funeral arrangements will not be completed until the arrival of her son from Spokane.
MISS MARY ANN HOLM, 19, another victim of Sunday's plane crash, was the daughter of DR. and MRS. O. E. HOLM of Vinton, but had never lived in Vinton.
Following her graduation from Lake Park, Ia., high school, where her parents lived until they came to Vinton two years ago, MISS HOLM entered nurse's training at Rochester, Minn.
She came to Vinton several days ago to see a sister, MRS. ANTJE PUTTNAMM of Denver, who was visiting her parents. MISS HOLM was enroute back to Rochester. MRS. PUTTNAMM also left Sunday for Denver.
The other dead and the injured in the crash included:
Flight Capt. WILLILAM A. PICKERING, 40, Parkville, Mo.
First Officer WILLIAM B. WILDE, 31, Minneapolis.
J. C. JOHNSON, 39, Belleville, Ill.
MILTON L. SCHOENBERG, 67, Denver.
DR. WALTER I. WERNER, 56, Albuquerque.
MYER LESIG ROBERTS, 45, Nowata, Okla.
MRS. GOLDIE RASKIN, 40, Omaha.
MRS. SARAH WOLSON, about 65, mother of MRS. RASKIN, Omaha.
MRS. LEO BELLIS, St. Joseph, Mo.
MRS. MILTON L. SCHOENBERG, 54, wife of the dead man, critical condition.
ROBERT REITSCH, 48, Rockford, Ill., spinal injury, fair.
DONALD PEARSON, 38, Lincoln, Neb., face and head injuries, fair.
MARGARET LOU EVANS, 22, Rochester, Minn., fair.
BETTY ANN TRULY, 23, plane's hostess, Shreveport, La., fair.
FRED HOFFMAN, 68, Atchison, Kan., fair.
LYLE D. LYONS, 24, LaCrosse, Wis., fair.
MRS. ZEE NICHOLS, Minneapolis, critical.
Six of the passengers boarded the plane in Des Moines. MRS. NICHOLS had been visiting in Des Moines and the five others were transfer passengers.
The five included the SCHOENBERGS; PEARSON, MRS. RASKIN and MRS. NICHOLS.
MISS EVANS was returning from her home at Great Bend, Kan., to Rochester where she is a Mayo Clinic nurse.
Physicians at Mason City said Monday that all of the injured including those whose general condition was described at "fair," still were in severe shock. They said interviews with the injured could not be permitted "for some time."
One of the injured, REITSCH, 48, of Rockford, was captain and center of the 1927 University of Illinois football team. REITSCH is a vice-president of Reitsch Brothers, a building materials firm. He was flying to the Dakotas on business. He was reported in fair condition at a Mason City hospital with a spinal injury. A son, BOB, was a guard on the Illinois basketball squad last year.
The co-pilot on the plane, WILDE, was transferred to Minneapolis from Sioux City about two months ago. A native of Rochester, Minn., he joined Braniff in 1951 after previously serving as a flight instructor at Mason City.
PICKERING got a private flying license at 16 and joined Mid-Continent in 1942. He flew army cargo planes in World War II.
Cedar Rapids Gazette Iowa 1954-08-23