San Antonio, TX Navy Jet Trainer Crash, Jun 1970

Jet Crash Claims 4

San Antonio, Tex., (AP)-An engine failure sent a Navy jet trainer plane crashing into two houses and caused four deaths Wednesday night.

About a dozen other persons suffered injuries but only four stayed in hospitals overnight.

Police said a reports of a fifth death in the fiery crash proved in error.

Navy officials said the F9 Cougar jet was making a practice instrument approach to Kelly Air Force Base when it lost power and nosedived two miles north of the runway. It his in Southwest 41st Street on the city’s west side and bounded onto two home on Luz Avenue, burning both.

Ed King, 16, sitting outside with several friends, said, “It must have missed us by not more than 10 feet. It started going up and down just before it crashed.”

Rudy Vela, who lives five doors down from where the plane struck, told of hearing “something like a rocket coming down then an explosion” while he was still indoors.

“I went outside and saw all the houses on fire,” Vela said. “My little girl was screaming because she didn’t know what was going on…I ran to the corner and saw the plane on fire. The fire was tremendous. You couldn’t get close.”

There were two men aboard the plane. The Navy identified them as Lt. (j.g.) Wesley B. Duerr, 25, an instructor from Camp Springs, Md., and Lt. (j.g.) John B. Weller, 25, a student pilot from Ronvent, N.J. They were based at Chase Field, a naval auxiliary air station at Beeville, Tex.

The other dead were civilians--Saul Martinez, 44, and his son Eduardo, 23, newly returned from fighting in Vietnam.

Bodies of the fliers were found in the street and those of Martinez and his son in their home.

Police said the discovery of a dead cat in a partly melted car, parked beside one of the houses, apparently led to the false report of a fifth death.

Mark Latson, 12, dashed from his home with clothing in flames moments after the plane struck. Hospital attendants described his condition as grave.

Most of the other injured suffered burns while fighting the fire, officers said, and were dismissed after emergency treatment.

Abilene Reporter News, Abilene, TX 26 Jun 1970


Nicole, I lived on Irma Ave

Nicole, I lived on Irma Ave and was home when the plane crashed. I can assure you that there were no little girls who died that night. I can tell you that the house on the corner, the 1st house to get hit where the older man and his son died while watch TV that there were little girls living there. I can't remember how many but there were 12 or 13 people living in that house, if I recall correctly, at the time and the only one's who died were the father and son.

Nancy, I grew up in that

Nancy, I grew up in that neighborhood, on Irma Ave and the plane could not have flown over your house.
I say that because there was no one in on our street named de la Pena or Talamantes. On Irma Ave on the north side of the street starting at 41st street were the Cardenas, Delgado's, Presas and Avila's. On the South side at the corner, where the plane passed directly overhead before hitting the street and going into the 1st house was a black family, and they were not home that night. Next to them was an old German lady who lived alone whose name I cannot remember at this time, next to her lived the Pena's'. THERE WERE AND STILL ARE NO TWO STORY HOUSES IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD IN 1970 when this plane crashed. I also now it, the plane, could not have flown over your house because it flew above my parents home and my next door neighbors home, the Delgado's'. I can say that confidently and truthfully because I WAS there. My father spent an hour with the pilot that was flying in a 2nd plane with the one that crashed and he and my father inspected the damage to our home/roof and peach tree that were hit by peace's of the plane and electrical tower the plane had it before it crashed. Please don't try to convince people that you were there when you weren't. the only thing that you said that is true is that "I" live with it, everytime a plane flies over wether I'm home or not I look up. BTW, my dad still lives in that house.

1970 Naval Trainer Crash

I still remember that night we rushed over to check on my grandmother, my moms mom, lived on Eldridge. Still can see the smoke and the wreckage. Very sad and sorry that happened, still think about that.

plane crash

I no it was terrible that night we should tell each families story.

my grandmother and her friend

I think I was eight years old an my parents had me at wilford hall hospital to remove an object out of my eye. we heard sirens and personnel running everywhere out of the hospital a little while later my father came into the treatment room and said BABY WE GOTTA GO! when hurried and my father was telling my mom something happened at the place where my grand mother lives. the house was owned by Mrs.Kelly and the plane crashed upside down through her front door of her freshly painted house from that morning. My Grand mother tried to pull out one of the pilots who was still alive in the cockpit and he told her to leave he was trapped. My grand mothers friends climbed in the garage closet with her little dog one of three. my grandmother realized she was not outside and tried to go back for her and grabbed by the fireman who she was quickly dispatching with punches. My grandmothers name was Naomi Ferrell. She stayed in that same neighborhood until 1992.I was there with my parents and the high speed chase we had with the SAPD when my mom told my dad punch it OLLIE. I wish I had more room to finish this story. I just remember my Granny duking it out on eyewitness with cops and fireman. she ran across hiway 90 to the gaines`s house barefooted and we watched run up the street towards what a scary night.

plane crash 1970

It flew right over my house, it was already on fire before it crashed. I was in the kitchen getting water for my nephew. I was 13 years old. old. The explosion was horrible. People were calling us to see if we were ok, some said they saw it fly directly above our two story house. People were running across our lot, the huge fire trucks from Kelly couldn't get in because of the massive crowds. It hit my friend, George's house. I thought he'd been killed. He was spared because he'd gone to the store with his mom. The fire never seemed to end, enoromous flames. The next day I rode my friends bike near the house. It smelt like burnt flesh. I'd heard the pilots had been decapitated, it was too much for me to process, I'm still dealing with it today. Everytime a plane flies above my house, I cringe and pray. I'm dealing with it now. A few years back I returned to the neighborhood with my husband, we parked the car and I just bawled my eyes out. It was shocking. I couldn't believe Eduardo had survived Vietnam, only to come home and die in his living room with his dad. Lord help us.

I'm sorry about your brother

I'm sorry about your brother Mr.Latson..this memory has been so vivid in my mind..I guess I will just never know..Its one of those memories that people have when they look at a photograph they took and remember almost every detail..once again..thank you

Mark, I am sorry for your

Mark, I am sorry for your loss.

I was there when the crash happened but I was only 5 years old. I almost began to question if it really happened because I never heard much about it. My father was driving our family home when he noticed the aircraft flying over us very low. I just remember him saying it was going to crash and he pulled over to the side of the road. Less than 10 seconds later it crashed and I just remember hearing the loud rumble and seeing all the flames. My dad was active duty Air Force at the time and he ran towards the crash to see what he could do.
I will never forget what I saw.

Im so sorry about your

Im so sorry about your brother.

I am Mark Latson older

I am Mark Latson older brother my brother was the only kid that died from the crash.