Cressy, CA Air Force B-52 Jet Crash, Dec 1956

B-52 Crash Kills 10 Near Base

CRESSY, Cal. (UP) - Ten Air Force men were killed when a B-52 Jet stratofortress crashed and burned in a grain field shortly after taking off from Castle Air Force base last night.

The $3 million plane has a normal crew of six, but was carrying four instructors on a routine training mission, the Air Force said. It was attached to the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Castle.

The Merced sheriff's office said one man was taken alive, but paralyzed from the wreckage but died en route to the base hospital.

Near Runway
The B-52, one of the 650-mile-an-hour heavyweights that make up the backbone of America's strategic air command crashed about four miles north of the Castle field runway.

An Air Force spokesman said the eight jet plane apparently bellied into the soft earth and bounced three or four times before it broke up and burst into flames.

Air Force officials said there was no indication as to the cause of the crash. They said the plane carried no ammunition.

There was no immediate grounding order for the planes at the base. After two earlier crashes all B-52 training missions were halted at Castle while investigators hunted for the cause of the mishaps.

In the first crash last February near Tracy, four crewmen were killed and four survived. The second mishap occurred near Madera, on Sept. 17, killing five men. Two others parachuted to safety.

Sixteen-year-old ROGER BLAKEMANN of Cressey was one of several eyewitnesses to the disaster last night. The youth was standing in the front yard of his home when the mammoth bomber, trailing flames and smoke, plunged to death.