Darlington, SC Airliner and Bomber Collide, July 1945
THREE ARE KILLED IN MIDAIR CRASH.
AIRLINER AND BOMBER HIT, PILOT IS HERO.
SAVES ALL BUT ONE OF HIS COMMERCIAL PASSENGERS, IN SKILLFUL EMERGENCY LANDING. TWO AIRMEN LOSE LIVES.
Three persons were killed in the mid-air collision of an Eastern Airlines transport and a plane based at the Florence Army Air Field several miles from Darlington at approximately 2:45 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
Two of the three dead were military personnel in the army plane while the other, a baby, was aboard the liner which was brought down in a magnificent manner by its pilot, thus saving the lives of 17 passengers and three crew members.
Five passengers were injured and admitted to The McLeod Infirmary where the condition of only one was described as critical. MRS. A. E. WILLIAMS of New York City and Miami, Florida, was reported by hospital attaches to have been desperately injured. She received a serious head injury, a fractured arm and is suffering from shock.
Her two-year-old son was killed, having died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
The two soldiers killed were listed by Col. JAMES R. GUNN, JR., commanding officer of the Florence Army Air Field as:
Cpl. ROBERT B. CLAPP, whose wife, MRS. RUBY B. CLAPP lives at 1705 Euclid street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Cpl. RALEIGH B. ALLBAUGH, JR., whose mother, MRS. ALTA D. ALLBAUGH, lives at 3606 North Broadway street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
In addition to MRS. WILLIAMS, the following are patients at the infirmary:
MRS. ANNIE LEE MOORE WALKER of Alexandria, Va., and Columbia.
MR. and MRS. MAXINE SILBERG ASPARATE, Caracas, Venezuela.
MISS GERTRUDE LUSTIG, New York City.
It was reported by an official that only one passenger, a woman, became hysterical. Most of the others were calm and collected. They all had high praise of the pilot G. D. DAVIS, who made the miraculous landing. As one person expressed it, "Pilot DAVIS was individually responsible for saving our lives."
FRANK GAY of the Eastern Airlines Columbia office and DEXTER MARTIN, state aeronautics commission director, arrived at the scene of the crash shortly after it occurred.
A relief plane arrived from Miami and carried most of the passengers to Miami late in the night. It was reported.
FRED PERRITT, of Darlington, was among the hundreds from Darlington who rushed to the scene of the accident. He said that the Army plane was near Syracuse while the airliner came to a standstill three miles away.
FRANK McKAIN of Florence was an eyewitness of the crash. He said that the impact did not cause a very loud noise.
The Public Relations office of the Florence Army Air Field issued the following statement:
"An Eastern Airlines DC-3, bound for Miami from Washington miraculously escaped destruction at 2:45 this p.m., when its senior pilot, G. D. DAVIS, of Miami, brought his crippled ship in for a safe landing after a mid-air collision with a twin-motored military craft. There were three fatalities, two of them military personnel, but except fot the masterful handling of his plane by Pilot DAVIS, it is almost certain that the 17 passengers and three crew members of the airliner would also have perished."
"Until the next of kin have been notified names of the casualties have been withheld."
"The accident occurred approximately 10 miles west of Darlington, S. C., in the community of Syracuse. From eyewitness accounts, including testimony by MR. DAVIS, and N. L. MARTINDALE co-pilot of the airliner, the two planes collided when in flight at an altitude of approximately 3,000 feet with the airlienr[sic] letting down preparatory to a landing at Columbia, South Carolina."
"MR. DAVIS said that neither he nor his co-pilot saw the bomber until just before the mid-air crash. Passengers of the plane, also, failed to see the ship. In the collision, the left engine of the airliner was torn off, and the fuselage was badly cut, just aft of the pilot's cockpit."
"Despite this damage to his plane, DAVIS maintained full flight control and brought the ship in for an emergency landing. The bomber, according to witness accounts, plunged to the earth, with only one of three occupants parachuting to safety. Although not seriously injured the one member of the bomber who parachuted was unable to be questioned this evening."
"One occupant of the airliner died some time after the accident, as a result of injuries suffered when the planes collided, but with this single exception, none of the occupants of the plane was seriously hurt."
"Col. JAMES R. GUNN, JR., Commanding Officer at Florence Army Air Field, authorized the statement that the military plane involved had taken off from the Florence base on a combat training mission. An immediate investigation by qualified officers has been initiated to determine the cause for the crash."
Passengers not hurt were listed as follows:
MRS. W. H. WALKER, Miami.
MRS. JAMES BULLOWA and Baby, New York.
J. LUBELLE, Henrietta, N. Y.
MRS. CARMEN PACHEO, New York.
ENOUCH MATHER, Miami.
Lt. A. L. STURM, Norfolk, Va.
W. K. GRIFFITH, Washington.
MRS. WM. VANHORN, Syracuse.
Lt. and MRS. A. C. ULNER, Washington.
KENNETH DURDEN, Washington.
W. I. BINNING, Washington.
J. HERTSBERG, New York.
Florence Morning News South Carolina 1945-07-13