Lawton, OK Helicopter Explosion And Crash, Mar 1960
ARMY COPTER EXPLOSION KILLS FIVE.
POLICE DOUBTFUL SABOTAGE CAUSE OF BLAST, CRASH.
Lawton, Okla., (UPI) -- Five men were killed in the explosion of an Army helicopter Sunday while returning from a flight taking three demolition exprets to Oklahoma City to investigate bombings at three homes.
Authorities did not know whether the million-dollar 15-passenger H-37 Sikorsky helicopter exploded before or after crashing five miles sort of its base at Fort Sill. Police doubted sabotage was involved.
The disaster occurred in wind and fog at 4:30 a.m. with wreckage scattered over a radius of 500 feet and a crater about 2 feet deep and 12 feet in diameter blasted in the ground.
It came only hours after bombs exploded at the home of three employes of the Oklahoma publishing company, who had returned recently from temporary jobs on the Porland Oregonian and Journal.
The employes work in the production department of the company that publishes the Daily Oklahoman and the Oklahoma City Times.
No one was injured in the three explosions, but considerable damage was caused, police said. Police guards were established outside the three homes. Other Oklahoma City workers who took temporary jobs in Portland also were given protection.
Authorities said bombs apparently had been planted in the basement of ALVIN WINN'S home, in BILL R. MARTIN'S garage and in MRS. WALTER SHERRY, JR.'S car parked beside her house.
Oklahoma City police officials asked the Army to send explosives experts. The helicopter was sent with Lt. C. B. GREENHILL, commander of the 61st Ordance Detachment at Fort Sill; Sgt. G. B. ELLIS and Specialist J. W. SWAIM.
The helicopter was on its way to Ft. Sill when it crashed.
"It sounded like an explosion, or several explosions," said J. O. BAILEY, who with his wife heard the crash. "When I looked out I saw a fire and I called into town. There wasn't anything we could do."
Four of the dead were identified as Chief W-O CARL W. AYERS, 32, Carrizo Springs, Tex., co-pilot; Sgt. RAYMOND D. PESTANA, 32, Honolulu, crew chief, and JOHN C. DOLLAHITE, JR., 27, Blanco, Tex., flight engineer. All were married.
In Oklahoma City, MRS. WINN said she was asleep in the living room of her home and her husband was at work when an explosion ripped the back of the house. It tore open the back portion of the basement and demolished her husband's bedroom.
Galveston Daily News Texas 1960-03-28