Cumberland, MD (near) Bomber Crash, Jan 1964
AT LEAST ONE SURVIVES IN PLANE CRASH.
COMMANDER OF BIG B52 SAFE AFTER WALKING 6 HOURS IN SNOW.
PRE-DAWN BLIZZARD HAMPERED RESCUERS.
Cumberland, Md. (AP) -- An eight-engine B52 carrying two nuclear weapons crashed and burned on a Western Maryland mountainside Monday during a pre-dawn blizzard.
The commander of the Air Force jet bomber's five-man crew, turning up haggard but safe at a nearby farm after trudging six hours through snow sometimes waist-deep, said all aboard had bailed out before the crash.
But night fell with no firm word on the whereabouts of the other four, and searchers expressed concern for the fliers still missing in the rugged sparsely populated area.
A Civil Air Patrol report that two crewmen, presumably besides the commander, had been found alive and were being taken to a hospital remained unconfirmed hours later.
Maryland State Police said the report, picked up by the CAP radio network, apparently was in error.
Nearly 24 hours after the crash the only known survivor was MAJ. THOMAS W. McCORMICK, 42, Yawkey, W.Va., the top-ranking officer aboard.
Frederick News-Post Maryland 1964-01-14
NAVIGATOR IS FOUND DEAD OF SHOCK, COLD AT B52 CRASH SCENE; ONE CREWMAN STILL IS MISSING.
Cumberland, Md. -- (AP) -- The body of a second flier from an air force jet bomber which crashed near here Monday was found today on an ice capped mountain.
Only one of the five crewmen still in unaccounted for.
Two crew members had been found alive earlier and another had perished on the blizzard swept slope near the scene of the wreckage.
The second body recovered was identified as MAJOR ROBERT L. PAYNE, 41, of Tulsa, Okla., navigator of the B52 carrying two nuclear weapons.
Both weapons, described as harmless in their present state because they were not primed, were found in the wreckage.
PAYNE'S body was located about six miles from the plane crash, 20 miles west of Cumberland.
Found dead earlier in the wreckage was MAJOR ROBERT L. TOWNLEY, 42, of Gadsden, Ala., the bombardier.
Still missing and the object of an intense air and ground search is Technical Sergeant MELVIN WOOTEN, 27, of Tohatchi, NM, the tail gunner.
The other crewmen, MAJOR THOMAS W. McCORMICK of Yawkey, W.Va., and CAPTAIN PARKER C. PEEDEN, 29, of Smithfield, NC, survived parachute jumps in near blizzard weather. McCORMICK made it to a nearby farm house and PEEDEN was found by searchers more than 36 hours after the crash.
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