Georgetown, WA Plane Crash During Takeoff, July 1949
Crashed Within Seconds.
The plane crashed seconds after it took off.
Amos E. Heacock, company president and a passenger on the plane, said both engines checked out "without a sputter" at the end of the runway.
Another witness said the right motor of the plane sputtered, then cut out. The plane failed in its climb and began clipping the tops of utility poles.
Power lines and telephone wires were clipped, plunging the area into darkness and disrupting communications.
Its wide wings cutting swaths through frame houses, the plane ripped through five Georgetown homes. It buried its nose in one structure.
About two minutes later it exploded.
During that short interval, passengers jumped or were thrown from the tail of the plane which had been sheared off in the crash.
Heacock said he personally checked all seats of the plane and all passengers had gotten out before the blast. The airline president said he found his wife, acting as stewardess, struggling with her head between two seats and threw her
"bodily" off the plane.
"Then I went through the pilots' compartment, which was torn off the craft. I found two pilots struggling and a third pilot apparently dazed or unconscious.
"All three were entangled in safety belts and wreckage. One man, JAMES M. ADAMS the co-pilot, was pleading with me to get him out. I pulled the wreckage off him and picked him up and threw him clear of the flames."
Heacock said he did the same with the pilot, Captain MERLE EDGERTON, and TONY GJESSING of Oakland, the navigator.
"GJESSING pleaded with me to be easy with him as he was injured, but the flames were already closing in on us and I had no other choice but to throw him over a fence."
At least five homes were badly damaged. The home of GEORGE A. CORDES, where the plane buried its nose, was smashed to the ground. The roof of one home was flipped free from its walls and lay crumpled in the street.
Two hundred national guardsmen formed lines to hold back a crowd of thousands endangered by writhing electric wires. Flames were visible for miles.
Many of the plane's passengers were service men returning home on furlough.
Ogden Standard Examiner Utah 1949-07-20