Denton, NC Jet Bomber Crashes, Mar 1961
JET BOMBER CRASHES NEAR DENTON.
TWO KNOWN SURVIVORS OUT OF CREW OF EIGHT.
Denton -- A B52G jet, the Air Force's giant atomic bomber, exploded and crashed near here at 9:15 last night, sending a ball of fire into the air which was seen 50 miles away. There were no atomic warheads aboard.
Two men are known to have survived out of a crew of eight. Near noon today rescue workers and Air Force personel had found only two bodies.
One, discovered dangling from a tree a mile away, was identified as Capt. WILLIAM D. McMULLEN, 36, commander/pilot, of Bad Axe, Mich. He is survived by his wife and three children.
The second body, found a mile and a half from the gaping hole gouged out of solid stone by the crash, was not identified. Officials said it consisted only of a head and shoulders. Capt. McMULLEN was found shortly after the crash last night. The second victim was found at 8:30 a.m. today.
A foot and a portion of skull were also found in the vicinity, but it was not known whether they belonged with the two bodies or to another victim.
The casualties were:
Capt. WILLIAM D. McMULLEN, 36, commander/pilot, Bad Axe, Mich.
Capt. WILLIAM W. FARMER, 29, co-pilot, Wilson, N.C.
Capt. ROBERT M. MORGENROTH, 31, radar navigator, Christiana, Penn.
Capt. GEORGE W. BEALE, 34, competition observer, Bowling Green, Virginia.
Sgt. JAMES H. FULTS, 29, instructor gunner, Tracy City, Tenn.
Airman First Class ROBERT N. GASKEY, 28, Providence, R.I.
The survivors were:
Major WILBUR F. MINNICH, 40, Des Plaines, Illinois.
First Lt. GLEN C. FARNHAM, 25, electronics warfare officer, Loveland, Texas.
The survivors bailed out at 50,000 feet and landed six to seven miles away from the crash site. Major MINNICH, the navigator, suffered a dislocated arm when he bailed out. Lt. FARNHAM complained of back pains but was apparently unhurt.
The two stated that the plane, an eight-engined jet, was on a routine mission from Dow Air Force Base in Maine. Its destination was not revealed.
Minutes before the explosion the plane had attempted to make contact with a KC-135 jet tanker to be refuled in flight.
Col. Oscar V. Jones, commander of the 4241st Strategic Air Command Wing at Seymore Johnson Field, Goldsboro, stated that the bomber was in "the observation position 100 to 200 feet behind and below the tanker just before the explosion, but never made contact."
Col. Jones arrived at the site before dawn today to take charge of operations. The B52 bomber which crashed near Goldsboro several weeks ago was in his command.
Continued on Page 2.