Fort Wayne, IN Airplane Crash, Apr 1951

11 Killed in Plane Crash at Ft. Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (UP) -- A United Air Lines DC-3 plane bound for Chicago from Cleveland exploded in an orange flash high in the air Saturday night during a wind squall and authorities said all aboard were killed.
The sheriff's office believed eight passengers and a crew of three were aboard and that all 11 were killed.
The twin-engined plane burst into bits at an altitude of at least 2,000 feet as lightning, from a sudden storm with wind gusts up to 85 miles an hour, flashed all around.
The wreckage and mangled bodies fluttered to earth and scattered over two acres of cropland on the farm of Brooks Smith, in a slightly hills section three miles southwest of Baer field, Fort Wayne's airport.
James L. Miller, tower control operator at the field, said the plane and another commercial ship were preparing to land when the wind storm swept across the runways.
Miller said he ordered the planes away to prepare for landing from different directions, then issued a second order to both to climb to 3,000 and 4,000 feet and head east.
The plane crashed at 8 p. m., CST, half an hour after it was scheduled to land at Baer field with eight passengers and a crew headed by Capt. E. K. SWALLOW, Hinsdale, Ill., and including First Officer H. R. MILLER and Stewardess BEVERLY ELLIS of Chicago.
Passengers listed were all from eastern points.
Miller said he saw the explosion.
"All of a sudden," the operator continued, "I saw a terrific burst of orange in the air about 2,000 or 2,500 feet up."
State police said they were attempting to get walkie-talkie radio equipment to the scene which was off the road. They said part of the wreckage was in a woods, part in a farmer's field.
The Civil Aeronautics Authority at Cleveland, said the ill-fated plane was United Air Lines flight No. 129, westbound from Cleveland. It was scheduled to make a stop at Fort Wayne.
The control tower operator at Baer Field said the plane which had been coming in for a landing ahead of the UAL craft later landed safely at Toledo.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette Iowa 1951-04-29




Ft. Wayne, Ind., Apr. 30. -- (AP) -- Investigators today blamed high winds for the crash and explosion of a United Air Lines passenger plane which took 11 lives Saturday night.
The plane, a DC-3 bound from Cleveland to Chicago, approached Baer Field for a landing just as a violent storm hit the Ft. Wayne area.
When wind gusts up to 85 miles an hour began whipping the field, Neal Rupert, the tower operator, told Pilot E. K. SWALLOW of Hinsdale, Ill., to head east to escape the storm.
A few moments later, Rupert said he saw "an orange flash" from the east.
Henray Facks, 62, a farmer who had gone out to see if his buildings were being damaged by the wind said he saw the plane about 1,000 feet up. As he watched the plane turned over in the air and plunged into a muddy stubblefield.
Line officials from Chicago joined the Civil Aeronautics Board and representatives of the Airline Pilots Association in an investigation. The three groups discounted first reports that the plane might have been struck by lightning. They attributed the crash to a powerful gust of wind.
All aboard the plane -- eight passengers and three crew members -- were killed.
The victims included three nurses, ANN LEHMAN and BARBARA SCHEIDEGGER, both of South Bend, and TREVE SWITHART, Argos, Ind., who were returning from a visit to a Massillon, O., psychiatric clinic. DR. H. CLIVE McALISTER, Ft. Wayne, medical director of the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company., MAURICE J. BOYER, Ft. Wayne, MAURICE MAHON, Cleveland, an FBI agent; KEITH FARR, Niagara Falls, N.Y., and STANLEY TELECZ, Detroit.
Crew members killed in addition to Capt. SWALLOW were H. R. MILLER, first officer and BEVERLY ELLIS, stewardess, both of Chicago.

Lima News Ohio 1951-04-30