Unionville, MO Jet Plane Destroyed In Mid Air, May 1962

Wreckage of Flight 11 Unionville MO Continental Flight 11.jpg



Unionville, Mo., May 23 (AP) -- A $5-million Continental Airlines jet, possibly torn apart by a violent storm fell to the ground in sections Tuesday night, killing all 45 persond aboard.
Although violent storms raged across souther Iowa during the night, there was speculation today that a second plane may have been involved in the crash. Authorities at Kirksville reported that pieces of a plane which did not seem to be part of the jet had been found.
The only known survivor, rescued from an intact section of the fuselage after an all-night search, died in a hospital 90 minutes after rescue.
He was TAKEHIKO NAKANO, 27, an engineer who carried business cards listing addresses in Oak Park, Ill., and Los Angeles.
He was removed from the middle section of the fuselage, which, shorn of its wings and tail section, plunged into a shallow gully about 20 miles from where debris first started spewing from the doomed plane.
The plane left Chicago's O'Hare Airport at 9:25 p.m., Central Daylight Time and was due in Kansas City at 9:35 p.m. Central Standard Time.
"Morgue" Is Garage.
A temporary morgue was set up in a garage in Unionville, a small community just south of the Iowa line.
The plane was Continental's Flight 11 en route from Chicago to Kansas City and Los Angeles with 37 passengers and a crew of 8.
It apparently broke up over Centerville, Iowa, about 20 miles north of here.
The fuselage lay undiscovered in a clover field on a farm, operated by TERRY BONNELL, from about 9:40 p.m. (CST) when it vanished from a radar surveillance screen until after dawn.
DEWEY E. BALLARD, air carrier operations inspector for the Federal Aviation Agency at Kansas City, viewed the fuselage this morning and said it appeared to have been broken up "by some tremendous force."
"This tremendous force," said BALLARD, "might have been a tornado or extremely heavy turbulence."
He said the plane apparently broke apart in the air and pieces spread out as they fell.
The inside of the fuselage was a jumble of bodies, seats, luggage and clothing.
NAKANO was found half way down on the right side of the intact section, lying with his back against three seats.
When told help had reached him he was able to respond only feebly. He died in St. Joseph's hospital in Centerville.
The craft, a Boeing 707 piloted by veteran Capt. FRED GRAY of Pacific Palisades, Calif., made its last report at 9:15 p.m. from a position 35 miles northeast of Kirksville, Mo.
This was about 120 air miles northeast of Kansas City where it was due to land about 25 minutes later.
The plane then disappeared from the FAA surveillance radar at Kansas City.
The crash was the first involving fatalities on a Continental Airlines plane in the company's 28 years of operation.
It was the second involving a 707 jet since the first of the year.
An American Airlines 707 crashed in Jamaica Bay, N. Y., last March 1, taking the lives of 95 persons.

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Unionville crash

This crash...with a passenger buying life-insurance and then detonating a bomb onboard...was used as the basis for the novel AIRPORT, and later the 1970 Universal movie with the same title.

plane crash in 1962

Bob wilks family
Well i finally found on my computer about this crash i always wanted to find out more about this since
my Grandfather Keith Morgan had a 1000 acre farm right where the jet went down. and i remember him telling me they put the bodies in Unionville Mo. where lived and the jet went down at nite and flew over his farm and the national guard wouldn;t let him to the farm,
until he said he had to check his cattle.
well guess i could tell some more but will maybe
another time and so sorry for the family loses but the
guy was crazy to blow up a jet.
Bill ps, i remember picking up pieces of the seats

Bobby Wilks was a brilliant

Bobby Wilks was a brilliant young biologist and, at the time, the youngest person to have completed a PhD in biology at the University of Texas. He was teaching and doing research at Duke University when he took this flight to investigate another teaching position. He was 27 years old and he was my father. I was 5 and my brother was 3.

if any one has a contact for

if any one has a contact for the Welch family I would appreciate receiving same. Roger a Chysler Executive was well known to our family, not just because both family's resided in Grosse Pointe, but my father was a long time Chrysler dealer. This came to light today when I spoke with a close friend, a retired Chrysler exec who commented that another mutual friend from Chrysler was waiting at the airport that evening to pick up Roger.

Roger's son Dick and I attended the same junior high. I can recall entering the school.....and learning of Roger's death. Pretty devasting for 8th graders, especially later learning of the bomb. And the fact that our fathers were the same age, and this crash occurred on my mothers birthday.

I believe the family moved to the Orlando area where Roger's brother or brother-in-law was a Chrysler Dealer.

Skip Thompson
Lake Forest IL


Continental 11

Absolutely fascinating air disaster. I'm currently researching all aspects of it and in contact with some of the relatives of victims. Really needs to be a memorial to it!!!