Ellsworth Air Force Base, SD Bomber Crash, Aug 1954

B-36 Peacemaker Photo.jpg Ellsworth AFB B-36 Crash 8-27-54.jpg Ellsworth AFB B-36 Crash 8-27-54 2.jpg Ellsworth SD B-36 wreck site 08-1954.jpg

24 KILLED IN B-36 CRASH IN S.D.

GIANT BOMBER BURSTS INTO FLAMES LANDING.

THREE SURVIVING CREWMEN IN "VERY CRITICAL" CONDITION.

Rapid City, S.D. (AP) -- Four more bodies were recovered early today bringing the death toll to 24 in the shattering, flaming crash of a huge B36 bomber on its way to a landing at the Ellsworth Air Force Base near here last night.
The public information office said the three other crewmen aboard the smashed ship were in "very critical" condition at the base hospital. Bodies of the dead, badly torn and burned, were brought to a Rapid City mortuary.
Roaring flames from the ship's outsized fuel tanks kept searchers and firemen from the fuselage section of the broken ship for hours.
Firemen from the base doused numerous brush and grass fires the wreckage set in the area.
On Routine Flight.
The plane, largest of the nation's propeller driven bombers, took off from the base yesterday on what was to have been a routine training flight.
The wreckage was scattered widely over a quarter mile area, one officer reported. He described the weather as "perfect" at the time the ship was to have landed.
Officers said the plane apparently struck a small hill as it approached the lengthy runway and was burst apart and fired within seconds. It came down about a mile and a half from the base on the ranch of Alfred Swallow located about 13 miles west of this southwestern South Dakota City of 25,000.
Flames Light Up Sky.
Swallow and his son, Harold, said they were about to retire when they felt a "concussion which shook the ground." They saw flames light up the sky immediately and drove to the scene.
Fierce flames were sweeping the wreckage by the time they reached it. They said pieces of the ship were scattered over a wide area.
Swallow also said there were a number of explosions, apparently of fuel tanks and ammunition. The plane had been on a routine training flight out of the Ellsworth Base, which is 13 miles west of Rapid City. The crash occurred about 1:30 a.m. CST.
Names of all victims were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Winona Daily News Minnesota 1954-08-28

Killed in the crash were:
Aircraft Commander Lt. Col. WRAY COTTERILL.
Co-pilot Captain NEAL WILLIAMS.
Navigator Major MARTIN MARGOLIN.
Photo-Navigator Major HAROLD CHAMBERS.
Radar-Navigator Captain JAMES MacDANIEL.
Engineer Captain ROY WEGNER.
Engineer M.Sgt. WILLIAM RATAGICK.
E.C.M. A/1c. GLENN KERRI.
E.C.M. T. Sgt. CHARLES BRIGGS.
Radio Operator M.Sgt. CARL BOYD.
Radio Operator A/1c. JAMES SWANSON.
Photo A/1c. RUSSELL WILSON.
Photo A/2c. ALLEN JENKINS.
Gunner M.Sgt. DEAN McKEVER.
Gunner A/1c. JOHN BAKER.
Gunner A/1c. GEORGE GROSS.
Gunner S.Sgt. DENNIS MURPHY.
Gunner A/2c. GEORGE HERTNECKY.
Radio Operator A/2c. WILLIAM LYNCH.
Navigator Second Lt. RICHARD CRITTENDEN.
Engineer Second Lt. JOSEPH MULLAN.
Photo A/2c. MARCEL HERBERT.
Photo A/2c. BILLY CAMPBELL.
Gunner A/2c. DONALD WOLF.
Injured:
E.C.M. Captain PHILIP TOUPS, suffered broken ribs, left arm, left leg and internal injuries. (He died five days after the crash.)
E.C.M. A/1c. JOHN HARVEY, suffered crushed chest, pelvis, fractures of left arm and left leg and internal injuries. (He died six days after the crash.)
First Lt. ROGER BUMPS, suffered a lacerated scalp, broken skull concussion, broken right shoulder and left arm.