Gainesville, FL Plane Crashes On Takeoff, Feb 1964


Gainesville (AP) -- A South Central Airline twin-engine passenger plane burst into flames immediately after takeoff today, killing at least ten persons when it plunged onto the edge of the runway.
The Beechcraft airplane was flight 510 which originated in Ocala and was en route to Jacksonville.
Several people ran to the crashed plane and tried frantically to open a door.
JO ANN ROWELL, a secretary, said the sound of the engine on takeoff indicated there was some trouble. She said she immediately went outside the terminal.
Would-be rescuers said they could see people sitting in their seats inside the craft but the blaze was so hot they had to give up attempts to break open the door.
"We were trying to get the door open but it was too hot," said MISS ROWELL, who joined those at the wreckage. "We could see two people inside. They were burning."
D. M. CARROLL, a city employe, said:
"It looked like the plane was about 200 feet high. The left-hand motor cut off and the engine made a whinning sound. The plane turned on its left side, just like a plane circles an airport when it's way up in the air."
"Then it hit the runway and exploded and burst into flames."
Lt. COURTNEY ROBERTS of the Gainesville police department said identities of the bodies could not be made immediately. Eyewitnesses said only the plane's tail section and wings remained intact.
One persons at the scene said there were ten bodies in the wreckage. Federal Aviation Administration in Miami said there were ten persons aboard the aircraft.
South Central, a feeder line, serves smaller cities in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. It has a fleet of eight of the twin-engine Beechcraft.
South Central inaugurated four-flights a day service at Fort Pierce's St. Lucie County Airport about two weeks ago, with flag stops at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport.
The flight originated in Ocala. The plan sent the ship north. It did not come to Fort Pierce, according to the airline's local office.
The firm's headquarters are at Ocala, Fla. It also serves Charlotte and Wilmington, N. C.; Florence, Myrtle Beach, Georgetown and Charleston, S. C.; Savannah and Brunswick, Ga.; and Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Palatka, Gainesville, Ocala, Daytona Beach, Orlando, Cocoa, Melbourne, Lakeland, Bartow, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Fla.

List of Fatalaties:
ROGER THOMPSON, pilot, Toccoa, Ga.
J. W. WILLINGHAM, Gainesville, assistant director of School of Forestry of the University of Florida.
DR. W. COWPERTHWAITE, Gainesville, director of the Division of Plant Industry for the Florida Agricultural Department.
D. V. LEGATE, Gainesville.
A. SERVOS, Gainesville.
K. MACKAY, Ocala.
BILL GIBBS, University of Tennessee assistant Basketball Coach.

The News Tribune Fort Pierce Florida 1964-02-03