San Angelo, TX Bomber Crashes, May 1955


San Angelo, Tex. (AP) -- A flaming B36 bomber, four of its 10 engines torn away, crashed and exploded Wednesday night during a violent rain and hail storm. There were no survivors.
Nine bodies were removed from the plane. There was a probability at least 14 were killed.
Goodfellow Air Force Base here said the normal crew of a B36 was 14. Walker Air Force Base at Roswell, N. M., reported one of its globe-girdling bombers missing. Maj. A. K. BARNES, public information officer, said 14 men were aboard this plane and possibly 15.
Presumably, this was the B36 that crashed 25 miles from where its four jet engines were found.
There was an unconfirmed report that the plane may have plowed into a tornado.
Goodfellow reported the four jet pods of the B36 were found 10 miles from Sterling City.
A Carswell Air Force Base spokesman at Fort Worth said, "Hell, no," the jet engines couldn't be jettisoned during an emergency." He said the big bomber could fly, however, on its six piston engines, with jet power cut off.
A cowboy on the COLLINS - DRENNAN Ranch watched the plane smash into the lonely, rugged country 60 miles northwest of this west Texas ranching center.
CHARLIE DAVIS, 21, said the plane was on fire as it plunged to earth. After the initial impact, the plane was ripped by two explosions.
The last radio contact with the bomber was at 10:44 p.m. as it passed over San Angelo. It crashed eight minutes later.
DAVIS said he heard the plane flying low over his house. He ran outside in time to see it come down, its left side in flames.
When it hit, DAVIS said the whole countryside shook. The flames were so hot, DAVIS said he couldn't get within 200 yards of the crash.
Bodies could be seen inside the wreckage, ripped moments later by two explosions. Wreckage was tossed over eight acres.
The area where the plane crashed is in the center of a rugged area suitable only to ranching.
Names of the dead crewmen were withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Press Telegram Long Beach California 1955-05-26