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Patrick Air Force Base, FL (Off Shore) Tanker Crashes, Mar 1960

THREE AIRMEN DIE -- TANKER HITS IN ATLANTIC.

Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. (AP) -- An Air Force tanker with trouble in two of its four engines ditched in the Atlantic, 40 miles offshore Wednesday night. Three of the 14 men aboard died. The others, some burned or in shock, were picked up by rescue craft.
Lt. JOHN ROGERS, first man to be picked out of moderately calm seas, was brought to this base by helicopter in good condition.
Surface craft, drawn to the scene by the flares and flashlights of the survivors, picked up the others.
The destroyer Sullivans was the first surface craft to reach Port Canaveral. She carried one dead man and five survivors. Three of the latter were in shock and another appeared to be badly burned. The fifth was bruised and dead.
Survivors picked up the the Sullivans were Sgt. LUIS E. RAMIREZ; Maj. WALTER C. BIRGE, JR.; Lt. RICHARD M. WEINBERG; Sgt. CHARLES J. HEFNER; and Lt. Col. GEORGE C. JERNIGAN, JR.
A Coast Guard cutter has three survivors and two dead men. The tanker Sherman Clark has the other two survivors.
The KC97 Stratotanker, en route from Newfoundland to its home station, MacDill Air Base in Tampa, Fla., reportedly was ditched with only its No. 1 and No. 4 engines operating.
The tanker plane hit the sea about 8:30 p.m. after radioing it was preparing to ditch, reportedly because of engine trouble.
Rescue pilots reported that wreckage of the ditched four-engine plane still was afloat.
The rescue craft continued criss-crossing the area through the night, searching for other survivors.
Newsmen were not allowed to interview ROGERS when he was helped out of a helicopter at Patrick and put to bed at the base hospital. Officers said he was too tired to talk.
Cmdr. Donald M. Reed, executive officer of the St. Petersburg Coast Guard Air Station, said ROGERS "didn't say a word" when he was hauled into Reed's plane on a sling lowered to the ocean surface.

Blytheville Courier News Arkansas 1960-03-31

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