Hawk's Mountain, VT Bomber Crashes, June 1947
BEDFORD BOUND BOMBER CRASHES INTO VERMONT MOUNTAIN -- 12 KILLED.
PLANE ONLY 12 FEET FROM CLEARING PEAK.
Springfield, Vt., June 16 (AP) -- A four-ply investigation was under was today into the tragedy of Hawk's mountain, where an Army B-29 bomber crashed early yesterday with a loss of life already reaching 12.
The bomber, on a training mission, hit the side of the mountain in a heavy rainstorm.
Army aviation officers from Grenier field, Manchester, N.H., civil aeronautics officials, Vermont state police and local officers joined forces in trying to determine what caused the huge craft, apparently lost in the clouds, to crash on the mountainside.
A checkup today still failed to show if any more persons died in the crash against a ledge, wherein only 20 feet would have averted the catastrophe, according to Army officials who viewed the disaster.
The number of persons aboard the plane, which left Tucson, Ariz., yesterday, had not yet been determined. Originally 15 were aboard, but the Army said the passenger list was changed at the Greater Pittsburgh area.
So badly burned were the victims that early identifications were impossible.
The plane was on a training mission, according to Col. R. L. Tucker, commander of Grenier field, who took charge of the investigation.
It was scheduled to fly to Bedford airport in Massachusetts but apparently lost its way.
When the plane reached Springfield, it was raining heavily, and the ledgy heights of Hawk's mountain loomed ahead.
At 1000 feet or less, the B-29 circled this small Vermont town. So low was the craft that its engines shook windows and aroused residents.
Moments later, the plane, heavily laden with gasoline, crashed.
In the downpour, it sent up eerie flashes. Springfield firemen, townsfolk and others raced into the high hill that denoted Hawk's mountain. It took them several hours to reach the scene of the tragedy. Once there, they could do nothing but remove bodies. There was no sign of life in the big bomber.
The Army said it might take some time to give out a list of victims, so badly were they burned, and so incomplete was the passenger list.
Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1947-06-16
List Of Casualties.
Lt. ROBERT C. FESSLER, 29, pilot, Madison, Wis.
2 Lt. WILFRED E. GASSETT, co-pilot.
2 Lt. CEASARE P. FONTANA, observer.
M.Sgt. D. D. JACK, crew chief.
S. Sgt. SYLVESTER C. MICHALAC, Summerhill, Pa.
S. Sgt. OLIVER W. HARTWELL.
S. Sgt. JOHN J. O'TOOLE.
T. Sgt. PAUL H. FETTERHOFF.
T. Sgt. CLAYTON K. KNIGHT.
Cpl. HARRY HUMPHREY.
Cpl. ROBERT CLARK.
Pfc. ROBERT M. STEWART, 28, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.