Chicago, IL Airplane Plunges into Gas Tank, Aug 1930

Four Persons Die as Plane Crashes Tank

Goes Through Steel Top of Gas Receptacle as if It Were Paper.

Chicago, Ill., Aug. 9 (AP).-The bodies of two girls taken from the wreckage of an airplane which plunged into a gas tank Saturday were identified late at night by their father as those of Mary and Eugenie Laws, 25 and 22, of Chicago. Mary worked in a bank and Eugenie in an electrical supply shop.

Chicago, Ill., Aug. 9 (UP).-Four persons lost their lives here Saturday afternoon when an airplane, fighting a heavy rain and electrical storm, crashed through the steel top of a gas tank on the northwest side of the city, plunged through thick layers of the life-snuffing gas and down into a tank containing forty feet of water.

There was some doubt as to the number of persons in the plane when it struck the tank, although it was reported the pilot and three passengers were aboard at the take-off. At least one spectator claims to have seen what looked like a person leap from the ship before the fatal plunge.

The pilot who, it is believed, went to his death in the bottom of the tank was Orville Souchy from the municipal airport. Two passengers, two women and a man, who were in the sight-seeing plane for a trip over the loop, were not identified immediately.

Crashes Steel Roof.

Bernard J. Mullaney, vice president of the People’s Gas Company, who hastened to the scene, said it might take two days to recover the bodies and wreckage.

The gas did not catch fire when the plane, said to have been a Ryan monoplane, plunged through the inch-thick steel roof as if it were paper. That indicated, airmen sad, that the pilot cut off his ignition switch when he saw the crash was inevitable.

Few persons saw the accident because of the heavy storm which brought a midnight blackness over the city. Rain and heavy lightning accompanied the black clouds. Everyone who could do so had taken refuge in their homes or stores.

Flew Into Black Cloud.

Steve Boboshi, a mail carrier, said he first saw the plane fly northward along the lake shore and then turn westward at about Chicago Avenue.

“The plane tan into a heavy black cloud,” Boboshi said. “The lightning was particularly bad at the time and I could barely see the plane against the black clouds.

“A moment after the plane disappeared into the cloud it came out spinning rapidly downward. I suppose the pilot tried to right it, but it spun faster and faster until it crashed through the roof of the tank.”

The monoplane cut a hole ten feet square in the roof of the tank, bending the heavy metal inward and diving into the deep water. Firemen with grappling hoops tried to catch the wreckage. Divers will enter the tank.

R.D. Caparelli, owner of the Bluebird Aviation Company, which operated the plane, verified the fact that there were three passengers.

J. Krauss, roofer, who was working near the tank, said he saw a man climb out on the wing of the spinning monoplane and attempt to jump. Krauss was certain, however, that the figure, dimly outlined against the rolling clouds for an instant, did not make the jump.

Michael Burton, a bridge tender for the gas company, said he saw something resembling a log hurtle through the air near him.

“I thought it was a log the wind had picked up,” he said, “and paid no attention to it until some one said there had been an airplane accident. Now I think it was a body that flew past me.”

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 10 Aug 1930