Cheshire, CT Airliner Plunges In Flames, Jan 1946


Cheshire, Conn. (AP) -- Seventeen persons, including a baby flying for a reunion with its serviceman father, perished yesterday in a wrecked Miami-to-Boston Eastern Airlines plane which burst into flames in mid-air and crashed into heavy brush land.
The body of the baby, child of MRS. CHARLOTTE STURMAN, and a serviceman, apparently just returned from overseas, was the last to be removed from the crumpled remains of the plane which figured in Connecticut's worst air disaster. MRS. STURMAN was among the victims.
So furious were the flames that it was hours before the air liner which served as a pyre for the Boston-bound travelers cooled sufficiently to allow rescuers to remove the bodies. Until that sad task had been completed, officials had been in doubt about the exact number of dead.
Witnesses, among them HORACE COGLE, Cheshire farmer, said they first saw flames shooting from the twin-motored plane, reported by State Police to have been an Army C-47 converted into a commercial transport, as it passed over the center of Cheshire.
Fire Spread Quickly.
Said COGLE: "The fire quickly shot back along the fuselage and one wing of the plane crumpled. It then dipped over and crashed."
Spectators agreed that the big transport was in difficulty when first seen here about two miles from the State Reformatory grounds.
Flames were spurting from its left motor, raced quickly back along the fuselage; one wing fell off and the other crumbled as the ship turned on its side and plummeted down to earth.
The accident occurred not far from a main highway and State Police cars, ambulances and fire engines were quickly on the scene.
The dead apparently included, beside three members of the crew, at least three women and one child and possibly two servicemen.
State Police said that papers taken from the wreckage included a leave issued to Lieut SCOTT FARON, U. S. N. R.
Passengers Listed.
State Police Commissioner EDWARD J. HICKEY last night released the state's official list of the 17 victims of the transport plane crash at Cheshire.
The list:
Captain ROY A. KUSER, pilot, Trenton, N. J.
ROBERT S. KNIGHT, copilot, Jackson Heights, L. I., N. Y.
WILLARD BASSED, flight assistant, steward, Jackson Heights, L. I., N. Y.
Lt. SCOTT FARON, USNR, Pittsburg, Pa.
MRS. CHARLOTTE STURMAN and daughter, JEAN, 2, Newton Center, Mass.
BARBARA THOMPSON, nurse for the STURMAN child, Standish, Me.
MR. and MRS. SAUL MILLER, Montreal, Can.
DAVID McVEIGH, New York City.
NORMAN E. FALT, Chevey Chase, Md.
Professor J. D. MITSCH, New York City.
HENRY BERGER, 38, New York City.
PAUL MAYNARD, Caldwell, New Jersey.
The liner had started its northward trip from Miami, Fla., and had stopped at Charleston, S. C. and Washington, D. C., before reaching New York.

The Troy Record New York 1946-01-19