Blossburg, PA 34 Die In Jetliner Crash, June 1967
SABOTAGE HINTED IN JETLINER CRASH.
34 KILLED AS PLANE DROPS IN NORTHCENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA.
By Vince Carocci
and Steve Marcus.
Blossburg, Pa. (AP) -- The president of Mohawk Airlines has asked FBI Director J. EDGAR HOOVER to investigate a "strong suggestion of sabotage" in the crash of a jetliner Friday that killed 34 persons near here.
In a telegram to HOOVER Friday night, ROBERT E. PEACH, Mohawk president, said "evidence has developed in course of notification of next of kin of crash victims which leads to strong suggestion of sabotage."
He did not give any details of the evidence.
The plane -- a BAC111 on FLight 40 bound from Syracuse, N. Y., to Washington, D. C. -- plunged in a ball of flames onto Blossburg Mountain in northcentral Pennsylvania at 2:50 p.m., shortly after it took off in overcast from Elmira, N. Y.
Investigators from several federal agencies, local authorities and state police met this morning to coordinate their investigations, which one spokesman said probably would take a week to 10 days.
Witnesses said the wreckage was scattered over a wide area and that nearly all the bodies were mutilated and dismembered.
"I was in World War II and I never saw anything like that," said RAYMOND SMITH, 48, who visited the scene.
Before PEACH sent his telegram, a Mohawk spokesman said the FBI was routinely investigating any possibility of sabotage, FBI agents also were sent to the scene to help identify victims, and the National Transportation Safety Board, a newly established unit in the Department of Transportation, sent investigators.
Former Maine Gov. JOHN H. REED, a member of the board, said Friday night the airplane's flight recorder tape had been found, intact and would be sent to Washington for analysis.
He said investigators had heard reports of a bomb but that there was "no evidence to that effect, which has come to our attention at this moment."
Residents of Blossburg, a town of 1,956, about 30 miles south of Corning, N. Y., said they could tell the airliner was in trouble as it flew over.
"It sounded like the engine kept cutting out," one man said.
Blossburg postmaster LOUIS SCHULTZ said he saw the plane's left wing on fire and pieces of debris falling off.
"It was making a noise like a whistle," he said. "It was just like a toy going down -- going down sideways."
SCHULTZ later visited the crash scene and said the fuselage was gone, "just as if someone had stuck some dynamite in the center and blew it to pieces."
Witnesses said the plane came down on a flat area of the mountain top.
A temporary morgue was established in the Blossburg fire hall, but some observers said identification would be an "almost impossible job." In addition to the FBI crew, pathologists and dentists were called to aid in identification.
The pilot was identified as Capt. CHARLES BULLOCK, 44, of Cazenovia, N. Y., who had been with Mohawk nearly 15 years.
Among the victims were two Franciscan priests from Graymoor, N. Y., and Montour Falls, N. Y., en route to a Franciscan meeting in Washington, two officers of the Richmond, Va., Fire Department heading home after two days of instruction on a new fire truck in Elmira and six communications specialists from several companies returning home after a training program in Cooperstown, N. Y.
A Mohawk spokesman said the pilot did not talk to ground flight centers aftrer leaving Elmira, normal procedure.
Mohawk, one of the nation's largest regional carriers, has had only one other fatal crash. On July 2, 1963, seven persons died when a twin-engine propellor-driven plane crashed on takeoff at Rochester, N. Y.
PASSENGERS ON DOWNED PLANE.
Utica, N. Y. (AP) -- The following is an incomplete list of persons killed Friday afternoon in the crash of a Mohawk Airlines jet near Blossburg, Pa. In all 34 persons died, including four crew members.
G. PAIGE, boarded at Elmira, bound for Raleigh, N. C.
R. E. PATTON, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Huntsville, Ala.
F. R. PHILLIPS, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Washington, D. C.
J. PICKETT, boarded at Syracuse, returned to Washington, D. C.
R. J. REMICK, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Jacksonville, Fla.
J. D. ROMOS, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Washington, D. C.
D. SPENCER, boarded in Elmira, returning to Raleigh, N. C.
FR. STANDERWICK, boarded at Elmira, returning to Washington, D. C.
WALTER STEELE, boarded at Elmira, bound for Nashville.
MRS. P. SWITZER, boarded at Syracuse, bound for New Bern, N. C.
D. M. THOMAS, a Tide Water Construction Co. representative, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Norfolk, Va.
V. THOREN, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Washington, D. C.
Pvt. D. WIARS, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Fayetteville, N. C.
MISS CYNTHIA WITECKI, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Washington, D. C.
D. WRIGHT, boarded at Syracuse, bound for Washington, D. C.
MRS. BASHORE, boarded at Elmira, bound for Winston Salem, N. C.
MISS H. BASHORE, boarded at Elmira, bound for Winston Salem.
J. BAY, 906 Ellison St., Falls Church, Va., boarded at Syracuse for Washington.
Father BENTON, boarded at Elmira, returning to Washington.
ERWIN BOOTH, boarded at Elmira, returning to Nashville, Tenn.
E. CARROLL, boarded at Elmira, returning to Richmond, Va.
G. MINGEE, boarded at Elmira, returning to Richmond, Va.
J. LOUZON, ticket validated in Baltimore.
FRANK LASKOWSKI of R. D. 2, West Winfield, N. Y.
JAMES LASKOWSKI of R. D. 2, West Winfield, N. Y.
Sgt. C. DAVIS of Washington, D. C. and Griffiss A. F. B.
Prof. R. LANGTON (possibly LANDON) of Fredonia State University.
A Mohawk spokesman said the two others could not be identified other than as a sailor who boarded the plane at Syracuse and a man who also got on there.
MOHAWK PERSONNEL KILLED IN PA. CRASH.
Utica, N. Y. (AP) -- A spokesman identified Mohawk personell[sic] on board Flight 40 which crashed Friday at Blossburg, Pa., as:
Capt. CHARLES BULLOCK, 41, R.D. 1, Rippleton Road, Cazenovia, N. Y., the pilot.
TROY RUDESILL, 44, Rte. 1, Vernon Center, N. Y., the flight engineer.
VIRGINIA A. BUNGERT, 22, Rte. 3, Rome, N. Y., a stewardess.
GALE L. SARDELLE, 22, of 1593 Herkimer Road, Utica, N. Y., a stewardess.
MISS JUDITH CORY, 23, of 6726 Cedar St., Akron, N. Y., a counter agent for Mohawk at Washington National Airport.
The Clearfield Progress Pennsylvania 1967-06-26