Tacoma, WA Transport Crashes In Fog, Nov 1952



Tacoma (AP) -- A four-engined military transport from Alaska crashed in the fog a mile short of its destination here early Friday, and 36 of the 39 aboard died in the explosion and flames.
The passenger list of servicemen and dependents included several women and nine children. The only survivors, all in Tacoma hospitals, were two airmen and an eight-year-old boy. Two of the women killed were in the military service. Several of the children were babies.
An Air Force information officer from McCloud Air Force Base, where the big C-54 was preparing to land, said the hospitals expressed the belief the three survivors have a good chance to pull through.
Sgt. RAYMOND SMITH, who was reported to have been stationed at McChord Base, died of head injuries after being taken to a hospital.
Plane Was Afire In Air.
At least two witnesses to the tragedy said the plane was afire as it "whooshed" down to a tree-flanked field about a mile from its destination at McChord Air Force Base.
Capt. JACK EASLEY, public information officer at McChord, said early reports to the base indicated the plane struck a tree while coming in through the heavy fog for a ground control approach landing.
All but a section of the tail was destroyed in the resulting fire and explosion. Bodies were scattered over 200 feet from the wreckage.
McChord Base reported the transport, a C-54, was circling for an approach to the field when disaster struck.
ART GETCHMAN, 18, who was driving nearby, and PHILIP BOLDEN, a McChord taxi driver who said the plane flew low over his home, were the witnesses who said the plane appeared to be afire.
GETCHMAN thought there was fire in an engine on the left side; BOLDEN said it "looked like the entire right wing was afire."
Was Flying Extremely Low.
Both said the plane was extremely low.
GETCHMAN told a reporter: "I couldn't hear the motors; it was just a big whoosh."
"I thought it was a meteor," he added. "It just seemed to slide into the ground."
The manifest listed 18 military passengers, 14 civilians and a crew of seven, Captain EASLEY reported.
The only known survivors in Tacoma hospitals early Friday were:
Airman CURTIS REDD, McChord base, burns.
Airman BOBBY WILSON, Great Falls, Mont., head injury, internal injuries and burns.
An Alaskan boy who was listed as JOSEPH ICOAVITT, eight, broken legs and burns.
First witnesses at the scene said they could hear the heart-rendering cries of a baby in the burning wreckage. They were helpless to do anything about it.

Continued on Page 2.


Four Survived!

Hi Michele, my heart and prayers go out to your Father and all those killed on that tragic day. I learned about 15 years ago while on a walk with my Father in the Sierras when he told me about something that took place one day up in Fairbanks AK when my Dad went down to the airbase to fill out some paper work to get on that flight as my Dad, Mom and my Sister who was just a new born were leaving for good and eventually headed to Southern California. As my dad walked by the plane he froze as he got this bad feeling that came over him. As he looked at that plane he saw a dark greyish aura round the plane. As he snapped out of what came over him, he walked into the office to fill out the white forms to get on the flight. As he was filling out the forms, the white papers turned to yellow which really startled him. At this point he felt something really bad was going to happen to this plane and went down to where his Commanding Officer was and told him he wanted to take a different flight out of Fairbanks. He was allowed to take a later flight and while still at Fairbanks, he learned what happened down in Tacoma. There's a reason for everything that takes place in this world and everyone has their destiny that can't be changed. I would not be here writing at this moment if it wasn't for my Dad and what happened to him to make him change his flight. For many years I thought of this young child that survived that crash and carried feelings for that child knowing that the child was the only survivor and to see that he has lived on to have a Family of his own. There was no way for my Dad to say anything about what happened to him that day in Fairbanks to warn others, they would of thought he was crazy especially during that time period. Just tonight I was listening to an Vietnam Vet who has a Youtube Channel Bill Mcdonald and was talking about a situation similar to what happened to my dad. He was suppose to fly on this helicopter but he had this bad feeling about it and warned his Commanding Officer about it and that he wasn't going to fly on it. They thought he was losing it mentally and ignored what he was saying. That same helicopter crashed killing all seven aboard. So basically it wouldn't of done my dad any good to say anything and I use Bill's talk youtube about what happened to show you this. Bill is alive today and does much work in this world in helping people in many different ways. Even though your Father was the only official survivor. But anyways I've said enough and so glad to see your post here and just want to say to you how bless you and your Family are and that your Father survived.

P.S. Four Survived!

Joseph Iacovitti

Hello , I live in Tacoma and have been researching the plane crash that your father survived.
There was one other survivor a 23 year old black USAF airman named Curtis Redd. He is buried at Arlington National cemetery. I can't really find anything about him or his family. A third man survived but died the next day of his burn injuries. Find a grave number 111543711 Bobby r. Wilson.

I have post some articles and pictures on your father find a grave memorial. 88300922
I couldn't find more recent picture of your father feel free to edit as you please.

Best regards
Doug in the flight path of McChord AFB

Pilot - Albert Fenton

My father, Albert Fenton was the pilot of that plane. I was born six months after he died.

I Knew Your Father

I knew Joe Iacovitti in Fairbanks. Unfortunately I began looking for him in earnest only after he had passed.

Only one survived...

My father Joseph Iacovitti was the only survivor. The two other gentlemen died shortly after.