Tellico Plains, TN Air Force Plane Crashes Into Mountain, Aug 1982
GRUESOME WORK BEGINS AT AIR FORCE CRASH SITE.
Tellico Plains, Tenn. (AP) -- Low clouds and heavy rain contributed to the crash of an Air Force plane that slammed into a mountain cliff, killing all nine crewmen aboard, officials said.
Continued poor weather Thursday around 4,900-foot Johns Knob also hampered the search for bodies in the debris of the C-141B, which crashed Tuesday afternoon on a low-altitude training mission.
"It hit a solid rock wall. It just cut a groove in it," said Maj. DOUG COSSENTINE, an air security polilce commander with the Tennessee Air National Guard. "It hit the side of the mountain and just sprayed over."
Asked if remains were found, COSSENTINE said, "No bodies. Just pieces."
Col. DONALD A LOGEALS of Charleston Air Force Base South Carolina, where the plane was based, said the poor weather in the area where the plane was flying contributed to the accident.
The crash occurred in Cherokee National Forest on the Tennessee-North Carolina state line, about 70 miles south of Knoxville.
Col. CHESTER G. OEHME, JR., the base commander supervising the investigation, said the plane was flying at about 260 mph when it hit the cliff about 70 feet from the top.
The impact sent debris over the summit and about half a mile down the other side, shearing hundreds of trees and leaving a trail of twisted green metal.
"It hit the cliff and just disintegrated," OEHME said.
The last contact with the plane was at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday, when the pilot talked to Atlanta air controllers. OEHME said investigators believe the plane crashed about 40 minutes later.
A Federal Aviation Administration computer traced the plane to within a mile of the crash site, and ground crews using flashlights found the wreckage late Wednesday.
OEHME said the plane was about 50 miles off course, but he said that isn't unusual for training missions.
Indiana Gazette Pennsylvania 1982-09-03