Amarillo, TX Crash Landing After Take Off, July 1962
AIRLINER CRASHES NEAR AMARILLO.
Amarillo, Tex. (AP) -- A Continental Airlines plane caught fire, Sunday seconds after takeoff and crash landed in a field. The 13 passengers and three crew members walked away from the flaming and exploding craft and suffered only minor injuries.
The flight originated in this Texas Panhandle city. It was en route to Lubbock, Midland, San Angelo, Austin and Houston, all in Texas.
A heroine emerged from the near-tragedy -- hostess LINDA HOWARD, based at El Paso.
Scorning a safety belt, she sought to keep the passengers calm. There was no panic.
"She told us the pilot was going to bring the plane down," said MRS. H. S. DODD, JR., of Andrews, Tex., whose two children were aboard.
"Then she walked up and down the aisle calming the passengers. She was shaken up but didn't seem to be hurt." said MRS. DODD.
The turboprop Viscount took off from Amarillo airport and went only 2 1/2 miles from the end of the runway before the pilot set it down with a wheels-up landing in a field.
GENE CAGLE of Amarillo, who was rabbit hunting nearby said the plane came directly over him.
"I saw fire on that one (right) engine," said CAGLE. "It was smoking and burning I wondered if they were supposed to do that. Then the fire began getting bigger and the plane nosed down."
"The plane skidded for several hundred feet and then skidded around and headed in the opposite direction. There was a loud explosion, and black smoke billowed up. Then there was another explosion."
The passengers left by an emergency door and dropped about two feet to the muddy field from which wheat had been harvested earlier this year.
CAGLE drove to a farm house to alert authorities. Ambulances arrived in a few minutes.
The craft carries about 60 passengers when fully loaded and costs about $1 million. It was destroyed.
Crew members were the hostess, pilot LARRY LAURATIS and the first officer E. C. GORMAN. All are based at El Paso.
Continental set the crash time at 8:05 a.m.
The only visibly injured persons was MRS. GEORGE CAROTHERS, 70, of Fullerton, Calif. She suffered a cut on her right ear, requiring stitches and knee injuries.
MISS HOWARD, who has been a hostess 14 months, later told a newsman: "I just asked God to help them (the pilot and co-pilot) get the plane down as safetly as possible. I don't know if I was really afraid or not. There was no time for that."
She said seconds before the plane crashed she reached the rear of the plane, "fell into an empty seat and did not have time to put the seat belt on."
Because of the fire on the right side, MISS HOWARD said she decided to get the passengeres to the rear door. HAROLD V. HUNTER, a passenger from Gardena, Calif., helped her get the door open.
MRS. DODD had her two children with her -- MARILYN, 16 months, and JACQUELYN, 3 years.
She sat on the right side just behind the wing that caught fire.
"I saw sparks from the motor," said MRS. DODD.
"We still had our safety belts secured. It happened too fast to get scared. I didn't get scared until I got to the hospital and realized what happened."
Three year old JACQUELYN disagreed with her mother.
"I was scared," JACQUELYN declared.
"We just went up and came back down," said MISS MARY WEAVER, 23, of Borger, who was en route to North Hollywood, Calif.
MRS. FLORENCE BOVE, also of Borger, was sitting on the right side in the second seat from the front.
"Just as it went up in the air, it caught fire," said MRS. BOVE. "We were about 500 feet up and I felt a sudden jar. I looked out the window and saw a little flame, and it kept getting bigger and bigger and soon the whole wing was on fire.
"When the plane hit, I hit my head on the seat in front of me and knocked off my hat and my glasses. I was so afraid we wouldn't make it down in time."
LIST OF CREW AND PASSENGERS.
Denver (AP) -- Continental Airlines in Denver announced the following passengers and crew members were aboard flight 210 which crashed and burned in a field near Amarillo. All walked away from the flaming wreck with nothing more than minor injuries.
MRS. MARY DODD, 1112 Crescent Drive, Andrews, Tex.
JACQUELINE DODD, 3, Same address.
MARILYN DODD, 1, same address.
MISS MARY WEAVER, 509 Cedar, Borger, Tex.
HAROLD V. HUNTER, Gardena, Calif.
JENNIE YOUNG, Tucson, Ariz.
LORE YOUNG, 15 months, same address.
MRS. MINNIE CARUTHERS, Fullerton, Calif.
W. J. CHAMBERS, Pampa, Tex.
ERVIN SMITH, 3905 Fountain Terrace, Amarillo.
FLORENCE BOVE, 119 West Wilson, Borger, Tex.
MRS. GAIL HERRON, Florida.
KENT McDADE, 16, Midland, Tex.
Capt. LAWRENCE LAURATIS, El Paso.
First Officer E. C. GORMAN, 3307 Kilkenny, El Paso.
Hostess LINDA HOWARD, daughter of W. C. Howard, Houston.
The Abilene Reporter-News Texas 1962-07-09