Milwaukee, WI Jetliner Crashes On Takeoff Killing 31, Sep 1985
DC-9 NOSE DIVES IN MILWAUKEE, LEAVING ALL 31 ON BOARD DEAD.
PILOT RADIOED OF AN 'EMERGENCY'.
Milwaukee -- Moments after a DC-9 jetliner took off from Mitchell Field Friday, the pilot reported, "I have an emergency." Seconds later the plane crashed nose first and burned in a wooded area, killing all 31 people aboard.
"The aircraft was demolished ... Northing was left of the airplane at all," said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman MARJORIE KRIZ in Chicago.
The crash of Midwest Express Airlines Flight 105, which originated in Madison, Wis., and was bound for Atlanta, was the 19th major commercial airline accident this year and added to a death toll of more than 1,400 that has made 1985 the worst year for fatalities in civilian aviation history.
Witnesses said the two-engine plane seemed to roll twice about 1,000 feet above the ground shortly after taking off in clear, sunny skies, then headed to earth nose first, where it burst into flames about a half-mile south of the runway.
There was no immediate indication what caused the accident.
Airline spokesman JOSE OLLER said 31 people were aboard the plane which is designed to hold up to 60 people. He said the plane's flight recorder had been recovered.
OLLER said most passengers got on in Milwaukee and he believed 10 were employees of Kimberly-Clark Corp., parent firm for K-C Aviation Inc., owner of Midwest Express.
Three victims were from Madison and the rest from Milwaukee, said OLLER, adding that a list of those killed would not be released until families of all the victims could be contacted.
"The service is used frequently by Kimberly-Clark employees," said Kimberly-Clark spokeswoman TINA BARRY from corporate headquarters in Irving, Texas.
At the crash site on the edge of the Michael Cudahy Forest Preserve, trees were scorched and part of a wing lay near charred detris. The smell of jet fuel was heavy in the muggy air.
PAMELA MURR, a traffic reporter for WTMJ radio at the scene said the plane made "a couple of barrel rolls and went down nose first. It burst into flames."
"It was the worst thing I have ever seen," MURR said.
"I've never seen anything like it in 20 years," said a Milwaukee County deputy sheriff. "Pieces of bodies are everywhere. Most of the clothing was burned off people."
The Rev. JOSEPH B. FREDERICK, a priest who walked through the smoking wreckage to administer the last rites said the pilot died clutching the jet's controls to bring it out of the dive.
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