Pittsburgh, PA Airliner Crashes On Takeoff, Apr 1956




Pittsburgh (AP) -- Searchers combing the area where an ill-fated airliner crashed seconds after takeoff from Greater Pittsburgh Airport located another body this morning bringing the complete count of the air disaster to 22 dead, 14 survivors.
The discovery erased any lingering hope that there might be another survivor in addition to the 14 who stumbled to safety from the flaming debris Sunday night.
It came more than 14 hours after the twin-engine TWA Martin Skyliner crashed on the fringe of the big airport.
Rescue workers had removed 21 bodies from the smoking debris Sunday night. They were taken to the Allegheny County morgue where identification was proceeding very slowly.
At almost the same time, as the body was located today, a meeting of investigating groups, including representatives of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and police and airline officials was getting under way at the airport terminal building, within sight of the shattered wreckage of the plane.
The big airliner, carrying three crew members in addition to the passengers, was taking off at the start of a trip to Newark, N.J. Sunday night. Seconds away from the runway it swerved, a wing dipped and the plane slammed into a hillside, then burst into a giant column of fire and smoke. Nothing remained of it today but the battered tail section, part of a wing and charred and scattered heaps of debris.
Survivors crawled or jumped or stumbled from the wreckage. Charred bodies of the victims were removed after the fire had been checked.
Two of those who escaped were the pilot and copilot.
The stewardess, MARY JANE FANNING, 21, Elmhurst, Long Island, was listed among the tentatively identified bodies at the morgue, and a check of the plane roster showed four women who were not among the known survivors.
MISS FANNING was on her second flight since graduating from the TWA school at Kansas City last Wednesday. She was a native of North Bergen, N.J. Her family moved to Albuquerque, N.M., in 1948.
Copilot HARLAN JESPERSON, Morristown, N.J., was hurt critically.
Capt. RAYMOND F. McQUADE, the 33-year-old pilot from Red Bank, N.J., is in fair condition. Neither he nor JESPERSON were permitted to talk to newsmen.
Joseph O. Fluet, investigator for the Civil Aeronautics Board, scheduled a meeting "of all investigating groups" for 10 a.m. (EST). Fluet said the meeting was called to set up an organization of the investigating groups and that there will be no statement as to the possible cause of the crash until comprehensive investigation has been completed.
The plane was scheduled to fly to Newark, N.J., with stops at Harrisburg, Allentown and Reading, Pa.
It was a bright and clear Easter Sunday evening as the plane lifted from the runway. Thousands of persons were at the airport to watch a colored fountain illuminated to climax the city's Easter celebration. The airport is 14 miles from midtown Pittsburgh.
Witnesses saw the plane's lights shining as it roared down the runway. Then came a rumble, a flash, a brilliant column of flame.
Clayton Hill, a civilian assistant fire chief for an Air Force squadron stationed at the airport, said he and other firemen reached the ship within three or four minutes. They helped a dozen people crawling from the burning wreckage.
"We couldn't do anything for those left inside," Hill said.
Several survivors told how they and others escaped through a hole ripped in the fuselage.
JOHN E. McCARTHY, 32, of nearby Castle Shannon, said:
"We had taken off and were airborne when the left wing dipped and the plane crashed."
"We apparently hit on the nose and the seats and whole interior were torn loose and jumbled. The plane crashed on a small bank and immediately caught fire."
McCARTHY and his traveling companion, THEODORE J. O'MALLEY, JR., Whitehall, Pa., said they beat out flames in their clothing and helped drag some of the more seriously injured through the ripped fuselage.
"If there were any screams from those trapped inside they were drowned out by the roar of the flames," McCARTHY said. "The plane was destroyed within five minutes."
MRS. DOROTHY YINGLING, 44, Camp Hill, Pa., said she had to "try twice" before she succeeded in loosening her safety belt and making her way from the plane.
"I had the sensation I was going to burn to death," she said. "The plane broke open right across the aisle from me."
TWA officials said cause of the crash could not be determined but a preliminary investigation indicated no engine trouble. MRS. YINGLING said, however, that she had heard sounds "like an engine conking out" just before the crash.

Two Ohioans Aboard, One Dead, One Hurt.
Pittsburgh (AP) -- Here is the roster of persons aboard the TWA airliner which crashed last night near greater Pittsburgh airport:
Tentatively identified as dead by the office of Coroner William D. McClelland:
CLAUD E. ADAIR, Indianapolis.
GEORGE G. BERG, Western Springs, Ill.
MARK BORLAND, Pittsburgh.
MARY JANE FANNING, Elmhurst, L. I., stewardess.
ALEXANDER FOX, 49, Allentown, Pa.
HENRY GLITCH, Pittsburgh.
HARRY KIDD, 29, 420 Main St., Middleport, Ohio.
HAROLD KINMAN, Covington, Ky.
A. L. SCHAUER, Pittsburgh.
Injured, detained at Sewickley Valley Hospital:
CHARLES COHN, 42, Allentown, Pa.
BEATRICE COHN, 42, Allentown, Pa., wife of Charles.
CHARLES COHN, JR., 13, Allentown, Pa. son of Charles and Beatrice.
DALE GROSSMAN, Centerville, Mich.
HARLAN JESPERSON, Morristown, N.J., co-pilot.
CAPT. RAYMOND F. McQUADE, 33, Red Bank, N. J., pilot.
HOPE RITTER, JR., 36, Bethlehem, Pa.
DIETRICK TIMMERMAN, 55, Allison Park, Pa.
WILLIAM TROUT, 59, 407 Triangle Ave., Dayton, Ohio.
Injured, treated at St. Clair Hospital:
DON McCARTHY, 32, Pittsburgh.
THEODORE O'MALLEY, JR., 39, Pittsburgh.
Injured, treated at Air Force Hospital at airport:
TWA listed the following persons as having been on the passenger list of the aircraft and not presently accounted for:
MR. DESNYTER, (first name or initials not known), Ann Arbor, Mich.
L. P. DILL, West Reading, Pa.
MRS. L. P. DILL, West Reading, Pa.
F. H. DRUMMOND, JR., Indianapolis.
The bodies of GRANT J. CRUSE, Pittsburgh, and DONALD MacLEOD, ALlentown, now are listed by the coroner's office as tentatively identified.
The bodies of two other passengers have been identified by relatives as:
RUTH ESTHER LASH, 41, Reading, Pa.
ALAN MEYER, 10, Bethlehem, Pa.

The Lima News Ohio 1956-04-02


A.L. Schauer-Pittsburg

Allen Schauer was my grandfather. He left behind a wife and three children that day. The oldest was my Uncle, who was 14. The stories he's told about the way the press treated my Grandmother and our family that day were horrible. My mother was the youngest, 2, and never had the chance to know her father.

Mary Jane Fanning,Stewardess

I grew up in Albuquerque and knew the Fanning family well. Some things in life we never forget. I will never forget the profound sorrow felt by Mary Jane's faminly and friends. She was very mature for her age and had a promising future. I recall that her funeral was one of the largest ever held in Albuquerque. The Fanning family also lost a son in Vietnam. To borrow from the words of President Reagan,thank you dear daughter and son, may the Lord cradle you in his loving arms.

Mary Jane Fanning,Stewardress

I grew up in Albuquerque and knew the Fanning family well. Somethings in life you never forget , and I'll never forget the profound sadness that her family and friends felt with Mary Jane's death. I recall that her funeral was one of the largest ever held in Albuquerque. I would also like to add that this family also lost a son in Vietnam. To borrow from the words of President Regan,thank you dear daughter and son, may the Lord cradle you in his loving arms.

Mary Jane Fanning, Stewardess

While reading the article on the Easter Sunday (1956) TWA crash in Pittsburgh PA, I found a couple of errors I'd like to correct. First, Mary Jane Fanning (my sister) finished stewardess training the last week of Febuary 1956 and started flying the first week of March. She became sick the second week of March and spent a six or seven days with relatives in New Jersey. She was on her second flight after returning from sick leave when she was killed in that Easter Sunday crash. The second error was that the Fanning family moved from Cliffside Park New Jersey to Albuquerque New Mexico in June of 1951 not 1948. Another interesting fact is that Mary Jane was born on Christmas day (1934) and died on Easter Sunday.

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