Fairchild AFB, WA Bombers Collide, Sep 1958
13 KILLED IN MID-AIR COLLISION OF TWO B52s.
Spokane (UPI) -- A midair collision of two B52 bombers near Fairchild Air Force Base Monday night claimed the lives of 13 of 16 airmen, the AIr Force said today.
Twelve men were killed instantly when the two eight-jet planes crashed and burned in a field three miles from the base.
The other victim, Captain ERNEST C. MARKER, Spokane, Wash., commander/pilot, parachuted from the crash but died at the base hospital early today.
The 12 victims already identified were:
Captain HOMER W. CRUMP, Monterey, Calif.
Major THEODORE HELD, Reedsburg, WIs.
Staff Sergeant AUBREY R. MOORE, Birmingham, Ala.
First Lt. JOHN M. CORK, Page City, Kan.
Captain ROY L. GEORGE, Cisco, Tex.
Lt. Colonel ANDREW B. CREO, Spokane, Wash., 327th Bomb Squadron Commander.
Staff Sergeant DAVID G. ARCHER, Spokane, Wash.
Captain RUSSELL H. SNOW, San Antonio, Tex.
First Lt. JOHN R. BLACK, St. Petersburg, Fla.
First Lt. REGINALD FRAZIER, Spokane, Wash.
First Lt. GERALD M. LIMBURG, East Amherst, N.J.
Captain DONALD R. STAPLES, Turner, Mont.
Capt. DAVID D. BIRDSELL, co-pilot, Spokane, Wash., who also parachuted from the crash, was reported in very serious condition but two others who leaped, Staff Sgt. LOWELL W. YOUNGER, tail gunner, Stockton, Calif., and Second Lt. WALTER N. McGUIRE, electronics warfare officer, Spokane, Wash., were reported in very good condition.
Col. Donald Hillman, commander of the 92nd Bomb Wing at Fairchild, said both the swept-wing giants were on routine training missions and were practicing landings. He said the collision occurred
"during or on their final approach to the base."
An eyewitness, Laren Smith, said one plane went into a steep dive after the crash and the other tried vainly to gain altitude.
Richard Russell of Airway Heights, a community near the base, said he was sitting down to dinner when he heard one plane overhead.
"I looked out the window and saw one circling and I said 'something's going to happen.' I ran for the door and by the time I got outside I heard the crash," he said. "I saw three parachutes."
Another witness said he also saw three parachutes immediately after the crash. He said one plane lost part of a wing which fluttered to earth.
Redlands Daily California 1958-09-09