Little Valley, NY Some Survive Airliner Crash, Dec 1951

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The list of survivors as given by the hospital:
MRS. MARY MESSERLOS, Pittsburgh, Pa.
MRS. MARIE NORCHIA, Pittsburgh, Pa.
MRS. ANNA PISO, Crafton, Pa.
DOLORES BESHEARS, stewardess, Miami, Fla.
JOSEPH WOZNIAK, Canonsburg, Pa.
ALBERT DICHAK, Canonsburg, Pa.
ROBERT GEYER, Pittsburgh, Pa.
PEARL MOON, stewardess, Miami.
EDWARD WESSEL, Pittsburgh.
Lt. WILLIAM BISCHOL, USN, Johnstown, Pa. and Key West, Fla.
Cattaraugus County Sheriff MORGAN L. SIGEL said the plane crashed two miles off off Saw Mill road, a country road thru some of the most rugged country in New York state.
The C-46 plane, owned by Continental Charters, Inc., of Miami, took off from Pittsburgh at 9:47 p.m. Saturday.
Extensive searches were being conducted in both Northern Pennsylvania and Western New York state when ALBERT called police.
There were seven crew members on the plane when it left Pittsburgh. Three were reported to be riding to Syracuse, where they were to pick up another plane.
According to the civil aeronautics board J. C. WEBBER of Miami was the plane's pilot, but Continental President JOHN A. BELDING said Capt. VICTOR HARRIS of Miami was in charge.
Neither WEBBER'S nor HARRIS' name was on the list of survivors, SIGEL reported from ALBERT.
First word of the finding of the wreckage and ALBERT'S report to police came thru SIGEL'S office where he relayed the information by walkie-talkie radio.
The plane is the same type as the one that crashed as Elizabeth, N. J., Dec. 16, killing all 56 aboard it.

The Post-Standard Syracuse New York 1952-01-01


List Of Casualties
Taken from The Bradford Era Pennsylvania 1952-01-02
MRS. DOROTHY BERMAN BRUCE, 27, 164 King St. East, Kingston, Ont.
JOHN R. JONES, 31, 310 Vermont Ave., Fairmont, W. Va.
MRS. MARGARET A. JONES, 30, his wife.
MRS. GERTRUDE A. McCLAIN, 55, 454 Grant St., Morgantown, W. Va.
MISS MARGARET B. MYERS, 36, Hickory, Pa.
GUS ATHAS, a co-pilot, of Miami.
MRS. AUDREY MALCOLM, 24, of 21 Webb St., Lockport, N. Y.
ROY C. HEMPHILL, 19, 1726 1/2 Ridge Ave., Coraopolis, Pa.
S-2c RICHARD A. WILSON, USN, 21, Sharon, Pa.
Capt. VICTOR HARRIS, the pilot, Miami, Fla.
Capt. J. C. WEBBER, extra pilot, Miami.
MISS DOLORES HARVEY, a stewardess, Miami.
MRS. ANN FRANKELL, 5676 Melvin St., Pittsburgh.
JUDY FRANKELL, 3, her daughter.
MARK FRANKELL, 6, her son.
JOHN OPAR, 717 Lowry St., Jeannette, Pa.
BENJAMIN M. SIEGEL, 6814 Linden Lane, Pittsburgh.
HANS E. RUTZEBECK, 32, a co-pilot, Miami.
Sgt. DAVID E. ARNOLD, USA, 23, 5931 Southwest 50th Terrace, Miami.
MISS LAVERNE KROLL, 1047 Lappish Rd., Pittsburgh.
Cpl. RICHARD J. MARTIN, USMC, 20, of 22 Hayward St., Buffalo.
ROY H. McCLAIN, 59, husband of the MRS. McCLAIN whose body is at Middleton's. 454 Grand St., Morgantown, W. Va.
JEFFREY EVANS, 14 months, the McCLAINS' grandson.
MISS PHYLLIS PALUZZI, 57 Southeast 54th Ave., Hialeah, Fla.
MRS. JAY PENMAN, Carnegie, Pa.
MRS. ELIZABETH ALBERT, 46, of 139 Northwest 17th St., Miami.



Did you know that there is a book out about the crash? It's called Hang on and Fly. You can buy it on Amazon.

Napoli plane crash

My name is Elizabeth Oleksienko and I would be very much interested in getting a copy of the scrapbook. I have my own scrapbook also with pictures and articles from the newspaper about to crash. I am hoping that you have something new that I don't have and maybe I have something you don't have. I would be happy to share mine with you also. Thank you Elizabeth Oleksienko
please email me at

My Grandma

Hi Pamela,

I just wanted to let you know that my grandmother told me about your grandfather and she helped him. I remember it scared her as a 21 year old stewardess and she wrapped him in clothes. Life is amazing and it made her so strong. I'm so glad that both our families survived that day!


Mary Mac

Stewardess Dolores Beshears MacMurray

Just wanted to add to the article that Pearl Moon was not the only Stewardess that lived in the plane crash of 1951. My mother Dolores Beshears lived and went on to be married and have 4 children. She continued to fly until Lung Cancer took her in 2004. She told me that the only reason she lived was that she was in the back of the plane when it crashed. She was supposed to be up front but one of the other Stewardess asked to change places with her as she wanted to be near one of the Pilots as she had a crush on him.

Thank you

Elizabeth MacMurray

97 year old father,still alive, survived Cattaraugus plane crash

My father, Robert A Geyer of Pittsburgh, Penna. survived this 1951 plane crash. Because he lay barefoot with a shattered leg and hand, in a puddle of gasoline with a piece of plane in his head he was not expected to live. My father, 35 years and strong, was able to pull himself under a wing of the plane. He survived by breaking open a suitcase he dragged beside him; and with his good hand, wrapped himself in clothing. He found a piece of fruit cake which he ate. He watched coyotes go through the wreckage, slept when he could and prayed that he would survive. Just as he was about to leave this world, he was awakened by rescuers who transported him to the hospital.

It took probably a year for him to recover from the crash. He is still alive today, at 97. Rarely has he ever spoken in depth about this experience, turning down interviews and even a play write who wanted to write a teleplay about his 3 days in December on the side of a mountain. Pamela Geyer

Don case who lives on

Don case who lives on narrows rd was at the seen to help bring out survivors

Plane crash near Salamanca

Saw your comment about the plane crash that happened near Salamanca, NY in 1951. I was searching for information on this because my father always told about this. My dad grew up in Salamanca and had family in the Bucktooth Rub and Sawmill Run areas. He said that he was on the scene before any emergency officials. He describes the scene as horrific; bodies in trees, dismembered parts, wreckage everywhere. I am interested to learn more. My dad's last name in Terhune. Anything in your book about that name?

My father died in this crash

My father was a back up pilot on this flight. His name was C.J. Webber, and I would love to have this scrapbook.
Please call me at 305-633-9637 office or 305-796-4809 cell.
I have two sister that would also be excited in us getting this scrapbook.

Conrad J Webber

little valley 1952 plane crash

I was 5 years old. I remember my mom had a dream about the crash. My dad didnt think anything of it. I rember my mom being upset. She had a 2nd dream the next night and my dad said most likely it crashed over Lake Erie. My mom cryed and cryed. This is why i rember it. I went to the door here on Bucktooth Run Road. I had to use a chair to see who it was. I told my mom a police man was at the door and police,fire and dump trucks were all the way down the road as far as i could see Sheriff Segal wanted to use our phone to send emergecy people to upper Sawmill Run not Bucktooth. Two way radios didnt work well in those days. My dad had a surprise when he returned from work and couldnt go home. Road was blocked except for residence. Police told him there was a plane crash. When my mom was alive she didnt want me to tell this story. I remember her pleading and crying which wasnt normal for her. Later i knew of my mom having esp but no furter dreams. My mom prayed the rosery

Gus Athas plane crash

Please contact me at I'd really like to hear from you.

Tim Lake