Moose Jaw, SK Airliner And Trainer Crash, Apr 1954
Witnesses said the RCAF Harvard trainer rammed into the air liner, slicing off one of the passenger craft's wings. They heard a report like cannon fire, then saw the North Star drop with fire shooting from its tail. One said an explosion sent bodies hurtling through the air.
Bodies of most of the victims were mutilated. A temporary morgue was set up in Moose Jaw Armories.
One North Star engine crashed in Mosse Jaw's main street. A wing landed on the golf course hundreds of yards from the fuselage. Witnesses said the crash scene in a newly developed section of the city "looked like a battlefield."
Thirty-one passengers, including five on company passes and a crew of four were in the North Star. An English pilot from a training field near Moose Jaw was flying solo in the trainer.
MRS. MARTHA HADWEN died when parts of the North Star fell burning in the home of Gordon Hume beside Willowdale golf course, then blew up.
For TCA, the accident ended more than 3,000,000,000 passenger miles of flying without mishap. TCA's last fatal accident was in 1947.
Twisted debris was scattered for blocks. Two of the powerful engines, almost unrecognizable, were half-buried in a yard.
Within minutes a huge crowd gathered to watch firemen battle flames in three houses. Nine bodies, eight from the planes and MRS. HADWEN'S were found in the ruins of the Hume house.
The North Star was TCA's flight 9 from Montreal to Vancouver via Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary. It left Toronto four hours late early Thursday, delayed by intense thunderstorms in western and northern Ontario.
MRS. HADWEN was alone to the Hume house when the North Star hit. A visit to the dentist saved Mrs. Hume and her two children. Mr. Hume was at work.
The crash occurred in clear, mild weather. It was sunny with cloudy intervals Thursday in Moose Jaw, the temperature in the 40s.
The collision was the third serious accident TCA has had in 13 years -- the first involving one of its fleet of Montreal-built North Stars.
No other crash of a scheduled Canadian air liner caused as many deaths as Thursday's collision.
Greatest previous loss of life in Canada in the crash of a scheduled airliner was 23 dead in the time-bombing of a Canadian Pacific Airlines plane at Sault au Cochon, Que., in 1949. Two men and a woman subsequently were hanged for their part in planting the bomb aboard the plane.
Moose Jaw was in a virtual state of emergency after Thursday's crash.
All the city's firemen, police and ambulances were ordered to the crash scene.
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