Lone Tree, IA Bomber Crashes, Feb 1951



From Gazette Wire Reports.
Lone Tree, IA Three men were killed and three jumped to safety Saturday when an air force B-25 bomber crashed and exploded on a farm six miles south of here.
One of the survivors was hospitalized at Iowa City with a broken leg. Names of the dead were withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Killed were the pilot and two military passengers, one a "hitch-hiking" sailor. All were attempting to jump just before the plane, an engine burning, crashed on the Ray Swanson farm.
One of the three left the plane a few feet above ground. His parachute-shrouded body was found alone on a hilltop.
Officers at Selfridge Field, Mich., said the bomber was enroute from there to Cheyenne, Wyo.
Survivors were identified as:
2nd Lt. P. A. KOLESAR (co-pilot).
T. Sgt. J. R. WALL.
T. Sgt. C. KNIGHT (a passenger).
WALL was treated at Iowa City for a broken leg. The others suffered minor injuries.
As it crashed and burst into flame about 900 feet from the Swanson farmhouse, the plane strewed parts over a distance of 500 feet.
Mrs. Swanson said she saw the bomber come in very low.
"I thought it would hit our house but then it turned," she said. "It was about six barns high at the time."
CAA officials at Moline said everything was normal when the plane passed overhead there at 10:57 a.m.
The crash occurred about 10 minutes later after the left engine apparently caught fire and the plane sank rapidly.
One witness was Ernie Hall, 13, son of Mr. and Mrs. Cleo Hall, who live five miles southwest of Lone Tree. He said he saw the plane flying west with one engine on fire.
"Before the crash all the underneath of it was on fire," the boy related. "I saw one parachute come down and then I saw two others. Then a fourth man dropped out just before the plane hit. His chute had opened about the time the plane crashed."
Other witnesses said the smoking plane went into a part circle over the Swanson farm.
Harry Sievers, Lone Tree volunteer fireman, said the crash-explosion could be heard in Lone Tree. Firemen went to the crash scene but could not save the plane.

Cedar Rapids Gazette Iowa 1951-02-11