Midland, TX Air Force Plane And Private Plane Collision, Oct 1956


Midland, Tex. (UP) -- A T-35 jet plane from Webb Air Force base carrying two Air Force officers collided in flight with a Cessna 170 carrying five members of one family over Midland. Wreckage of the planes plummeted to a residential section, burning one house and damaging several others. All seven persons in the planes died, but no one was hurt on the ground.
"That small plane looked as if it were flying almost in the same direction as the jet," L. B. Martin, Dallas, Tex., truck driver said. "There was a loud explosion, then pieces of both planes and bodies were falling everywhere."
The Air Force victims of the air collision were identified as Capt. ROY A. ROBERTS, 29, of Belleville, Illinois, whose wife and daughter live at Big Spring; and 1st Lt. LOWELL D. HALE, 25, of Decatur, Illinois. HALE'S wife and daughter also live in Big Spring.
Those killed in the private plane were WINFRED R. CLEMENT, 27, his wife ELIZABETH, 25, their daughter, CATHY, about 13-months-old, all of Bowie, Tex.; and MRS. CLEMENTS' parents, MR. ROY E. HOWARD, 63, and ETHEL HOWARD, 57, of Vashti, Tex.
The jet wreckage crashed into the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Saunders, who weren't home at the time.
"If it hadn't been for my sister I probably would have been in that house and been killed myself," Mrs. Saunders said. She said her sister and insisted that they go shopping.
The engine of the civilian plane crashed into the kitchen of Mrs. Billy Crowe. Only minutes earlier she had taken her children -- Janice, 1 and Debra, 3 -- into the living room.
Wreckage and bodies were strewn all over the middle class residential area. The body of one woman crashed through the roof of another home and lodged in the bathtub. A child was found crumbled in a flower bed.
Webb Air Force Base said one of the airmen in the T33 had ejected himself, but his chute failed to open. The body of the other airman was found in the burned Saunders home.

Daily Inter Lake Kalispell Montana 1956-10-25


plane crash in Midland

My cousin found the young child in the flower bed. The crash happened close to his home. This was a sad day.

My brother was a 4 year old

My brother was a 4 year old child and witnessed this crash. It's still traumatic for him and he's never been able to fly.
He saw the bodies and has never forgotten.

My brother was a friend of

My brother was a friend of Winfred and I believe he had asked my brother and his wife to go with them. He could not go so the Howards went instead. My borther lived on the solona highway and sometimes his wife and winfred would block traffic while Winfred would land and taxi off

Airplane crash in Midland, Texas October 1956

I remember the crash very well. I was in first grade at the time. I was attending a Brownie meeting on Apache Dr. right down the street from where the crash happened. We felt a jolt and then the smoke rolled down the street. My mother Elizabeth Paulk called and said she was ok as our house was behind where the jet crashed into. I remember seeing the engine of the plane in the house across the street. it went right thru the back kitchen window. One of the pilots ended up in my backyard on Thomason Drive. I remember the lady going thru the bathtub on Thomason Drive. The private plane was on top of a house on Thomason Dr. I will never forget this as long as I live. Brenda Wilson

Midair Collision Over Midland Tx, Oct 1954

I read with keen interest the article on the midair collision between a USAF T-33 & a civilian Cessna 170.
The occupants of the civil aircraft involved here were my maternal grandparents, Roy & Ethel Howard, my maternal aunt Ann (she was known by her middle name) & her husband Winfred.
The infant, Cathy is my cousin.
They had been visiting my uncles Cecil & Doyle Howard (they lived in Odessa & Midland respectively) and their families.
The Clements were survived by a son, Dickey, who had stayed home with relatives.
Daddy Roy (as the grandkids knew him) was part owner/proprietor of Howard & Perkins Gen Store in Vashti- little more than a crossroads with (at the time) the store, a gas station, a couple of churches and a cluster of perhaps 20 or so homes.
At one point, Grandmother was the little Community's telephone operator. I can remember Mother & Daddy talking about the phone lines being strung along the fence posts from the switchboard in the back of the house.
The Howards were survived by sons Cecil & wife Peggy, Doyle & wife Mary Jo & my mother Zelma Mae, all deceased now.
In 1957, Uncle Cecil & Aunt Peggy had twins, a boy & girl they named Roy & Ethel.
My oldest brother, Joe, related that he (then 18) and Mother were frying eggplant in our Boyd, Tx home, where I grew up, when they got the devastating news. So great was the shock to my mother that she never again fixed eggplant.
Often as a child, we would go to the Bellevue/Vashti area of Clay County for family reunions, and the like & I recall many members of the community commenting on how well respected & admired my grandparents were. Daddy Roy was known as an honest businessman who'd go out of his way to see to his customer's needs, Grandmother (daughter of a Methodist Minister), was known for her kindness & as a Sunday School Teacher.
Oftentimes, it was mentioned to us how particularly sad it was that baby Cathy was found in a flower bed.
Perhaps I'm getting philosophical in my old age, but I've come to think maybe that was the Lord's way of telling the family, "Don't worry, she's with Me, she'll be fine."