Matagorda Bay, TX Flyers Plunge To Death In Bay, Nov 1928



Second Lieut. FRANK V. CORSON, pilot, and Pvt. JAMES W. SMEDAKER, Second Division Air Corps, were drowned in Matagorda Bay early Friday afternoon when the plane in which which[sic] they were engaged in aerial machine gun practice fouled a target towline and crashed to the bay from an altitude of 1,500 feet. A report of the accident was received in a radio message received at Fort Sam Houston.
Both Lieut. CORSON and his observer jumped when the plane fouled the target towline. Their parachutes functioned properly, but when a plane arrived overhead 10 minutes later observers could not find them, the message said.
The crash occurred about two and a half miles from the Palacios beach, and boats searched the spot designated by markers dropped from the plane, but at nightfall neither of the bodies had been recovered.
Maj. JAMES A. HOAG, assistant chief of staff, Second Division, announced Friday night that arrangements had been made to send an amphibian plane from the Third Attack Group at Galveston to Palacios early Saturday morning to assist in the search.
Maj. HOAG said that the crash was observed from the target tow plane and occupants of that plane kept the two men under observation until they struck the water when they disappeared almost on the instant of striking. The plane also vanished as it struck the water and only an approximate location could be determined, increasing the difficulty in searching.
Lieut. CORSON was a native of Woodstock, Ill. His mother is MRS. DOROTHY TAYLOR, who lives at 416 Madison Avenue, Woodstock. He was 24 years old and graduated from the advance flying school at Kelly Field with the last class in September.
Several soldiers camped at Bayside Beach witnessed the accident and, according to information received here SMEDAKER jumped when the plane collided with towline. Lieut. CORSON attempted to right his plane before jumping.
A skiff with soldiers put out for the spot, but the bay was rough and the rowers were forced to turn back. A fishing smack and two motorboats hastened to the scene, but after cruising over the spot for some time, returned and reported no trace of the men had been found.

San Antonio Express Texas 1928-11-17