Key West, FL Navy Training Plane - Airliner Crash, Apr 1951

Fear 40 Killed as Key West Airliner Plunges in Sea

DC-4 Dives Into Water in Crash With Navy Plane

Dozens See Collision Mile South of Beach At Florida Base

KEY WEST – (AP) – A commercial airliner and a Navy training plane collided and crashed into the ocean a mile off Key West's south beach today. Soon after a woman's body was found at the scene.
Soon after Pan American World Airways reported that a four-engined DC-4 plane operated by its affiliated company, Compania Cubana De Aviation, was overdue on a Miami-Havana run with 34 passengers.
Capt. WILLIAM R. CARRUTHERS, acting head of the naval submarine base here, said eyewitnesses on shore told him the Navy plane spun into the water immediately after the collision.

The airliner remained in the air for about 50 seconds before crashing into about 30 feet of water between one-half and one mile off-shore.
CARRUTHERS said two bodies identified as Navy men had been recovered and “we are recovering some other bodies which are being brought ashore but have not been identified.”
The Navy plane, he said, was on “a planned operational flight.”
A flotilla of rescue crew, including a diving crew, went to the scene. Coast Guard, Navy and other aircraft flew over the area looking for possible survivors.
First reports said the airliner vanished in the water but that bits of wreckage were floating to the surface when the first Navy rescue boat reached the area.
Hundreds of sunbathers saw the Navy plane and the big, silver commercial craft flying alongside each other over the south beach.
Later reports by these eyewitnesses said the Navy plane exploded. One wing fell off and the ship plummeted into the water.
The airliner flew a level course for a few seconds, they said, then went over into a nosedive and crashed.
The planes fell just offshore from the “Little White House” where President Truman spent his vacation last month.

The Panama City News-Herald Florida 1951-04-25

Two Planes In Collision At Key West

39 Believed Aboard Liner; 3 Bodies Found; Navy Pilot Reported Dead

KEY WEST, Fla.-- (U.P) – A Cuban four-engine airliner and a twin-engine Navy plane collided over Key West today and both planes crashed into the ocean with 43 persons. The navy announced that “there are no known survivors.”

KEY WEST, Fla. --(U.P.) -- A Navy fighter plane and a civilian four-engine aircraft collided over the Naval Air Station here about noon today and both planes crashed into the water.
The coast guard said at least three bodies were recovered from the Atlantic Ocean within a few minutes after the crash.
Authorities in Key West said the air above the vast naval installations on the island are restricted as flying zones for civilian aircraft.

Passenger Plane Overdue
The civilian plane was not identified immediately. However, a Cubana Airlines plane, with 34 passengers and five crewmen aboard, left Miami at 11:03 a. m. and was reported overdue in Havana, Cuba.
The Navy rushed crash boats, divers, and a blimp to the scene.
An unconfirmed report said that the pilot of the Navy fighter plane was killed in the crash and that his enlisted crewman was seriously injured.
The larger plane crashed about 1,000 yards offshore from the southern-most part of the Key West Island, within sight of the Casa Marina Hotel and the U. S. naval submarine base, site of President Truman's little White House.
The Navy fighter crashed on the other side of the island in the main ship channel.

Continued on page 2