Premier, WV Converted Airliner Crashes, July 1942

West Virginia Memorial To Victims of Crash.jpg


Welch, W. Va. July 1 (AP) -- A big airplane, apparently a converted airliner, crashed and burned in the West Virginia mountains near here today with a loss of at least ten lives.
State Troopers EARL YEAGER and TOM HARRISON said that ten bodies had been removed from the charred hull and that most of the victims were believed to be army men.
They said the plane had borne insignia of American Airlines.
The plane crashed in a garden about a half mile from the mining village of Premier, three miles from Welch.
Eight bodies were first removed and then two more. Troopers said the search was continuing for others.
All Badly Burned.
All the bodies recovered were burned beyond recognition, the troopers said.
The scene of the catastrophe is in the southern part of West Virginia a few miles from the Virginia line. The entire section, one of the nation's leading coal producing areas, is mountainous.
MRS. LAWRENCE RUNYON, wife of the mine superintendent at Premier, said she saw a large plane in trouble shortly after noon.
The big ship's wing dropped off, and the plane dived straight for a hilltop. It came to rest in a valley on the other side of the hill.
Other witnesses told troopers that they heard a roaring noise as the plane nosed near the hilltops. It appeared, they said, as if the pilot were trying to straighten out the plane.
He apparently succeeded but at that moment the wing fell and the crash followed.
An AA Plane.
Trooper YEAGER said a pilot's report in what remained of the fuselage identified the ship as belonging to American Airlines.
The cabin and fuselage were badly smashed and the fire which broke out immediately gave none of the occupants a chance to escape even had they survived the crackup.
On a belt buckle owned by one victim the officers deciphered the name ERWIN STRATMAN, a duffle bag bore the name of FLOYD HYET and the flyleaf of a book had the name of GUY S. HILL.
Most of the victims were identified as army personnel by their charred uniforms, the officers said.
When word of the crash reached Welch, three miles from Premier, all available ambulances and doctors were ordered to the scene.

Moberly Monitor-Index Missouri 1942-07-01

Pvt. EDWARD F. X. CARR, Philadelphia, Pa.
Corp. CLAUDIUS W. HAYWOOD, Ambler, Pa.
Staff Sgt. LEO T. COLBURN, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Pvt. ELMER J. CAMPBELL, Stanley, Va.
Pfc. DENVER W. KOEPPE, Bryan, Oh.
Staff Sgt. ANTHONY W. BELCHER, Ironton, Oh.
2nd Lt. WALTER R. FAUGHT, JR., Paris, Tx.
2nd Lt. EDWIN A. HARNESS, La Porte, Ind.
Staff Sgt. ARCHIE W. CHAMBLIN, Leavenworth, Kan.
Staff Sgt. RUSSELL A. CARTER, Topeka, Kan.
Staff Sgt. SALVATORE T. BARONE, Mt. Morris, N.Y.
Staff Sgt. JOSEPH S. CHOLEWA, Racine, Wis.
Pfc. LESTER S. ERICKSON, Superior, Wis.
Pvt. ELMO G. EDMUNDS, Quincy, Ill.
Staff Sgt. LEON A. OLIN, Big Timber, Mont.
Staff Sgt. HORACE M. DICKSON, Hannibal, Mo.
Corp. BARTOLA P. PURPURA, Watertown, N.Y.
Corp. KERMIT S. MASTERS, Sheldon, Mo.
Staff Sgt. GEORGE R. EVERSULL, Stuart, Ia.


Premier WV airplance crash

My Uncle, Lt. Walter Faught, was the pilot of the plane. The Army severely overloaded it (it was a civilian passenger plane) and unfairly blamed the crash on my uncle and covered up the real cause.