Denton, NC Jet Bomber Crashes, Mar 1961
MINNICH and FARNHAM came to earth within several miles of each other and were given aid by people in the area. They were both taken to the Denton Clinic, where they were treated for injuries.
The exploson brightened the skies and shook the ground for miles around. Great stones were thrown high into the air and wreckage was scattered over a ten-mile area, setting fires in woods and fields.
Fire departments and rescue squads from Thomasville, Forsyth County, Randolph County, Davidson County and Guilford County rushed to the scene.
Their access to the area, located on the John Frank Farm four miles west of Denton and two miles south of Silver Hill mine, was hindered by literally thousands of people who flocked to the scene as if it were a college football game.
Automobiles lined both sides of the Old Mining Road from its intersection with Highway 8 to a point more than a mile from the dirt road leading to the crash site.
People brought their children and mothers carried little babies in their arms to the site of the crash.
The spectators began to arrive immediately after the explosion and continued in an increasing stream until they blocked the highways and had to be driven out by officers.
At 2:30 a.m. the heavy spectator traffic had subsided, but here and there through the woods one could see stragglers coming and going. Even then there were women with little children.
"I thought Judgement Day had come," said John Frank, who, with his wife and two grown children, farm the rocky land where the plane fell.
"I heard this airplane and then it came, the explosion, and I thought it had fallen on the house and set it on fire," said Mrs. Frank. "Rocks were coming down in showers."
"It just paralized me," said Frank.
The plane landed several hundred yards from the Frank home on the border between Frank's farm and a farm owned by N. L. Lookabill.
The area was heavily wooded and the plane crashed in what appeared to be solid rock.
Trees were ripped up by the roots for hundreds of feet about the massive crater gouged out by the jet plane.
The crater measured roughly 150 feet in length, 50 feet across at its widest point and about 25 to 40 feet deep.
When reporters from The Enterprise reached the scene shortly after the crash, the entire area was ablaze from fragments of the plane.
As one approached the crater from the Frank home, the ground became more and more heavily littered with fragments of metal, twisted grotesquely, none of large size.
Five hundred feet from the flickering, crackling hole, dust from pulverized rock, large stones and metal covered the ground.
Trees, many of them 10 or 12 inches in diameter, tood awry, their limbs broken and twisted, fragments of aluminum and othe debris hanging from the upper branches.
One hundred feet away the trees were bare of limbs and many were uprooted.
One eight-inch tree was hurled from the crash site, stripped of branches and jabbed into the ground 400 feet away, with its roots high in the air.
Continued on Page 3.