Pacoima, CA Private Plane Crashes Into House, June 1957

PLANE SLAMS INTO HOUSE FOUR PERSONS ARE KILLED.

8 ESCAPE PLUNGING AIRCRAFT.

QUARTET FROM CHICO PERISH AT PACOIMA AS WING FOLDS UP.

Pacoima (AP) -- A private plane crashed Sunday night into a suburban home where eight members of a family were eating a birthday dinner. Four Chico men -- all occupants of the plane -- were killed.
A neighbor, Donald Melghan, told reporters he saw the plane's right wing "fold like an accordian."
It then plunged into the one-story tract home of BARRY WORTH, 30, a telephone installer, tearing a hole about 10 x 4 feet in the roof.
The plane crashed on down into the patio, smashing inward a picture window six feet from a table where WORTH, his wife, three children and three other relatives were eating. None was injured.
The coroner identified the dead as:
OWEN SUMMERS WALLIS, 33.
HENRY HARRIS SMITH, 42.
ROBERT F. PETERSON, 52.
TERRENCE PATTERSON LOCKHARDT, 33, all of Chico.
The bodies were badly dismembered.
The plane was from a rental service at Chico Airport, police said.
WORTH said:
"It was horrible. I hope something can be done about these planes flying over the neighborhood."
His house is a mile from Pacoima Junior High School, where the high altitude collision of a transport plane and a jet killed two gym-class boys and five airmen last Jan. 31.
The family dinner was a party celebrating the 57th birthday of WORTH'S mother-in-law, Mrs. Katie Buchwitz. Hamburgers and corn were being eaten. A cake was on a table with candles waiting to be lighted.
"We heard a big whine and a big crash," said WORTH. "It happened so fast we didn't know what was happening."
His father-in-law, Heinz Bauchwitz, 63, a tool and die maker at the Lockheed missile test center in this San Fernando Valley suburb of Los Angeles, said:
"I thought it was an earthquake. There was a crash and a splintering of glass from the window. The room was covered with glass, but we were very fortunate and weren't hit."
"There was no fire. The engine must have been cut. We shut off the gas in the kitchen. The electricity in the house was cut off by the plane hitting the wires."

Independent Long Beach California 1957-06-10