Milwaukee, WI Jetliner Crashes On Takeoff Killing 31, Sep 1985
"All I could do was offer a prayer for them ... commend them to God," said the Rev. KARL ACKER, pastor at nearby St. Alexander's Roman Catholic church, who also went to the site shortly after the crash.
"There is nothing we could have done if we had been there right on the scene," said RICHARD SEELEN, assistant Milwaukee fire chief. "It was total devestation."
KRIZ said there were 26 passengers, four crew members and one person sitting in a jumpseat. That person "could have been from the airline, or the FAA, or the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), but was not a passenger," she said. Initial reports had put the number aboard as high as 40.
MORT EDELSTEIN, a FAA spokesman in Chicago, said the plane took off at 3:25 p.m., and was flying across the airport boundary when the pilot called the tower.
"I have an emergency," EDELSTEIN quoted the pilot as saying.
The tower acknowledged receiving the message, and then the plane crashed, EDELSTEIN said.
"The next thing the tower saw was smoke and fire from a large ball of fire," he said.
SCOTT SCRIMA, 27, of Waukesha, employed at an airport freight company, said he walked into the woods and found smoking debris scattered over an area of about a half acre.
"I saw a lot of smoke," SCRIMA said. "I saw a lot of little pieces. I didn't see anything big. It looked like a forest fire" had swept the scene.
LARRY KROES, a construction worker on a project at the airport, said: "We heard a pop. It was just like the engine went out."
Another construction worker at the airport, RUSS LEWANDOSKI, said the plane evidently had an engine problem that the pilot tried to overcome.
"All of a sudden he fluttered," LEWANDOSKI said. "He lowered the nose real good."
"Then he banked to the right," he continued. "It seemed like he turned to the engine that was dead, then it went down."
A team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, headed by board chairman JIM BURNETT, was flying from Washington to Milwaukee on an FAA aircraft to begin an investigation.
Rescuers Work Late Recovering Bodies.
Milwaukee -- The four rescue workers trudged into the charred forest outside Milwaukee's Mitchell Field airport and came back moments later carrying the familiar green bag containing the remains of another victim of Flight 105.
They set their morbid package on the end of a row of identical bags and walked back into the darkness of the woods.
"We still have bodies trapped in the fuselage," said FRED KLUTH, a battalion chief for the Milwaukee Fire Department. He said most of bodies were "badly mangled or fused together."
Midwest Express Flight 105 originated from Madison, Wis., and crashed at 3:20 p.m. Friday, moments after taking off from Milwaukee on its way to Atlanta. All 26 passengers and five crew members were killed when the DC-9 jet plunged nose first into a wildlife preserve at the end of Runway 19, exploded and burned.
"I was walking to my office when I heard what I though was a sonic boom," said DAN STOREY, who works close to the airport. "Flames were coming from the right side engine. At that point the plane started to lose altitude."
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