Flagler, CO Disaster At Air Show, Sep 1951

FLAGLER COLO 1951 Stunt Plane crash

PLANE CRASH KILLS 20 AT AIR SHOW.

PRIVATE CRAFT HOOKS WING, HITS CARS IN COLORADO TOWN.

Flagler, Colo., Sept. 15 (INS) --A slow-rolling private plane, performing at an air show near Flagler, Colo., Saturday, hooked a wing on the ground and careened into a line of autos, killing 20 persons, 10 of them children.
An estimated 50 other persons were injured in the accident.
A crowd of 1000, sitting on cars, on the ground and standing, were watching a sailplane perform as the low-flying stunt plane approached the field. Only a few persons witnessed the crash.
The plane, a low-winged monoplane, piloted by 1st Lt. NORMAN L. JONES of Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, passed over the field from south to north, and went into a slow roll at low altitude.
The silver and blue low-wing monoplane hooked a wing on the ground and careened into a line of cars at the east side of the field, splintering cars, and spraying vehicles and spectators with gasoline and oil.
Authorities said the plane did not burn, and that no panic resulted amont spectators.
LT. JONES was killed in the crash. Authorities at Lowry Air Force Base said he was attached to the Student Photo Training Department of the base, and was permanently stationed at David - Monthan Air Base, Ariz.
Air show officials and volunteers moved swiftly to care for the dead and injured, who were taken to Flagler Hospital and other hospitals in the area.
A nurse from the Flagler Hospital, identified as MISS KELLEY, said of the victims taken to the hospital: "They were so cut up -- I never saw anything like it -- there was not a burn among the injuries I saw -- the people must have been sitting down because the injuries were mostly from the waist up."
Other victims were taken to hospitals at Stratton, Burlington and Denver.
Dr. John Duffy, Walsh, Colo., some 160 miles distant, rushed to the scene of the crash by air, carrying 2000 c.c.s. of blood plasma for the crash victims.
Duffy said the plasma had been received only Friday, and that at that time he told his partner,
"Lord, we'll never use all this." The plasma, however, was used quickly in treating victims of the tragedy.
Most of the victims were killed outright in the crash, and seven others died before they could be treated at a hospital.
T. GUARD, former publisher of the Flagler News, an eyewitness of the crash, declared: "No one knew what had happened at first because it occurred so fast -- some of the people stayed right on top of their cars where they had been sitting watching the show."
BOB SHAMBURG, a 42-year-old Burlington, Colo. farmer, who responded to a call for aid, said persons at the accident site "could hardly talk when I arrived ... they seemed stunned by the tragedy which had snuffed out so many lives."
He added: "It's like one of those things you see sometimes in a movie."
Mortician RALPH CLAPP, whose ambulance was one of a half-dozen vehicles smashed by the cart-wheeling plane, escaped injury because he was away from the vehicle at the time of the crash.
His wife was critically injured in the crash, and his 3 -year-old daughter SANDRA, died of injuries received in the accident.
The air show was being held in conjunction with Flagler's annual fall festival. GUARD, chairman of the festival, called the slow roll performed by the plane "an unauthorized maneuver."
Lowry Air Force Base authorities emphasized that Lt. JONES was piloting the plane on his off duty time, and was not flying on behalf of the Air Force.

Flagler, Colo., Sept. 15 (AP) -- Identified dead from the crash of a stunting plane here Saturday included:
LT. NORMAN L. JONES of Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, pilot.
HALFRED ASHER, about 60.
MRS. LOIS THOMPSON.
JOHN KELLER, 6.
ZENELDA KELLER, 14.
ILLA MAE HARWOOD, 10.
JEAN YOKUM, 6.
JAMES BRANDENBURG.
DONALD BRANDENBURG.
CAROLINE SELENKE, 14.
TEDDY WICKHAM, 11.
KATHRYN ANN KELLER, 55.
WILLIAM LEROY HUGHES, 8.
VIRGINIA IRENE MOSS.
JOHN WALTER HALL, 88.
ELLA ELIZABETH HEID, all of Flagler.
GORDON ALEXANDER McEATHRON, 10.
BEBE LEE McEATHRON, 13, of Arriba, Colo.
MARDELL RENA SIMONIS.
MARLIS JEAN STAHLECKER.
CONNIE JEAN VOGEL.
The identified injured are:
MEREDITH KYLE, 11.
PHIL HOLDEN.
MRS. EVELYN ATTY.
ANNABELLE MOSS.
VICKI CRIST, 8.
GEORGE MOORE, 7.
HARVEY DINE.
MRS. ZENALDA HEID.
MRS. RALPH CLATT.
ANN CLATT, 8.
SANDRA CLATT, 4.
PAUL YOKUM, 10, all of Flagler.
MRS. FRED CHARLES.
MRS. JAMES TRAHERN, 19.

The Salt Lake Tribune Utah 1951-09-16

Comments

and I was six and we were living in Maine

My Dad in the service so family was living in Maine when this happened. My Mom's Mom, Ella Heid was killed and I remember the night the phone call came. Evidently, Grandma was standing next to Grandpa and she was struck in the head -- he was untouched. What a tragedy for so many families and the community.

I was 9 in 1951 - we were in Flagler Sept. 15, 1951

We were in Flagler, Colorado on September 15, 1951. My Dad played ball for the Stratton baseball team. There was a game scheduled after the air show was finished. My Dad and one of my uncles arrived early with the equipment. They decided that they could see the air show better from the baseball field, so they got busy and began getting the equipment organized - putting the bases out - drawing the base lines, etc. We saw the plane go down. Some of my aunts had grown up in Flagler and one of them still lived there. They were all over at the air field to watch the stunt planes. When my uncle and Dad got over to the air field, one of my aunts was in shock. She wasn't able to speak for several days afterward. My Dad had a Nash automobile. He had been choosing Nash automobiles for several years. Nash had just introduced an innovation with the seats, which allowed for the seats to be laid down flat, so he was able to drive some of the less seriously injured to the hospital in Burlington. There was room for one passenger to lie down - plus room in the back for one uninjured family member or friend - or someone with even less serious injuries. Some news accounts said that people were taken to a hospital in Stratton - but there was no hospital in Stratton. What they did was open up the Legion Hall and the chiropractor who was practicing in Stratton at that time took care of people with broken bones. There were also some military veterans who had combat experience with battle field first aid who also went down to the Legion Hall to help out. I have hated the thought of air shows ever since that day and cannot understand why they have not been outlawed! We were living in Broomfield in 1991 when there was also an accident during an air show there. When my sons were teenagers, they belonged to the Civil Air Patrol and, at times, the Civil Air Patrol Cadets helped with crowd control at some of the air shows. I was glad that they were already grown and starting families of their own when the air show accident occurred in 1991 in Broomfield. to this day, I do not understand the fascination which peope have for watching airplanes do stunts in front of a crowd!

I was 8 yrs old when this

I was 8 yrs old when this happened. My father had gone to see a glider that had just landed and my mother followed, I was with her. We stopped to talk to my aunt and I can remember my mother saying " He's not going to make it!" I looked back and saw the plane hit the crowd. For an instant everything was silent then everyone started running. My mother took me to the car and on the way someone told her to take Ann Clapp (who was a friend of mine) with her because Ann's mother & sister had been injured. My father came looking for us and he uncovered bodies trying to find us. We took Ann Clapp home with us and when we brought her back to her home there were big transport planes at the airport waiting to take the injured to Denver. Ann's mother and sister Sandra both survived. The next week mass funerals were held in the town of Flagler and we never celebrated Flagler Day again.

my mom had a 2 yo cousin

my mom had a 2 yo cousin killed there and almost lost 3y0 cousin sister of girl killed. their father had one in each hand and brim of his hat was torn off.

Teddy Wickham

Teddy's name was erroneously included in the list of the deceased. His father told me that several eye witnesses saw him crouched over the body of a little boy and assumed that child was Teddy. the names of the deceased were later revised.