Chicago, IL Plane Explodes In Crash, Nov 1959
PLANE EXPLODES IN CHICAGO CRASH.
EIGHT DEAD AS AIR CRAFT HITS HOMES.
Chicago (UPI) -- A four-engine freight plane, apparently on fire and trying to make an emergency landing at fogbound Midway Airport, crashed and exploded amid homes and an apartment house before dawn Tuesday.
At least eight persons were known dead and officials feared the toll might mount as high as 15. Nine persons were listed as missing and nine more were injured, three seriously.
The only positively identified victim six hours after the 5:40 a.m. crash was the plant's pilot, Trans World Airlines Capt. CLAUDE W. HELWIG, 40, Woodland Hills, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb.
A TWA official said it was believed that the two other crew members of the 2 1/2 million dollar Super-H Constellation had also died. They were co-pilot DELMAS E. WATTERS, 37, Los Angeles, and Flight Engineer AERION L. AUGE, JR., 35, Los Angeles.
Two other victims were tentatively identified as DELEAN NICHOLS, 28, and his wife, JO ANN, 21. Their charred bodies were brought to the county morgue clad in pajamas.
A witness said one engine of the plane was on fire when it took off at 5:30 bound for Los Angeles. A TWA spokesman said there was an unconfirmed report that there was a fire warning in the plane's cockpit at that moment.
HELWIG radioed almost immediately after takeoff that he was swinging back for an emergency landing through the rain and fog. About 10 minutes after the Constellation had left the ground, it smashed down three blocks from the airport on the way back. A cluster of flaminghomes and a small apratment building were turned into a flaming junkyard.
The flight had run into trouble almost from the start. A delay in securing equipment delayed its takeoff from New York for an hour. Disaster appeared already in the making when the plane roared off the Chicago runway after a 3 1/2 hour layover.
Edwardsville Intelligencer Illinois 1959-11-24
DEATH TOLL RISES TO ELEVEN PERSONS IN PLANE CRASH
PUBLIC HEARING TO BE HELD ON MISHAP.
Chicago (UPI) -- Investigators Wednesday sifted the flame-blackened rubble of a residential neighborhood where a four-engine cargo plane tore a fiery path of destruction, killing 11 persons.
Those dead were:
Capt. C. W. HELWIG, 40, pilot, Los Angeles.
MRS. ELIZABETH MEHALLOV, 44.
BETTY ANN MEHALLOV, 16.
GEORGE MEHALLOV, JR., 18.
NICHOLAS DELEAN, 27.
JO ANNE DELEAN, 21.
MRS. GIUSELO PETRISCO, 27.
MARK PETRISCO, 5 months.
MRS. DOROTHY RAK, 41.
Unidentified Man presumed to be one of the two other crew-members, DELL E. WATTERS, 37, co-pilot, or AERLON L. AUGE, 28, flight engineer, both of Los Angeles.
Unidentified Man presumed to be the other crewmember.
Four teams of experts tried to piece together the twisted bits of wreckage to find why the Trans World Airlines Super-H Constellation crashed before dawn while trying to make an emergency landing at Midway Airport Tuesday.
One aviation expert said a loss of power might have caused the explosive, roof shearing crash in the densely populated area.
The Civil Aeronautics Board said a public hearing would be helf after investigators have meticulously pieced together and examined the wreckage in a TWA hanger at Midway.
Local officials also were planning an investigation.
Witnesses who saw the plane said the left inboard engine belched flame.
At 5:37, just six minutes after takeoff, the plane skimmed too low over the darkened homes.
The tail section struck a house just five blocks from the airport. It glanced off two other houses, swept through a light post and crashed into two bungalows three blocks from the runway. The tail assembly smashed into an apartment house across the street.
The plane was only 10 seconds from a safe landing.
Edwardsville Intelligencer Illinois 1959-11-25