Garden City, KS Private Plane Crash, Sept 1979



Garden City, Kan. -- (AP) -- Two and possibly three persons were killed in a fiery crash of a small airplane a few miles outside Garden City Wednesday at about 12:45 p.m.
The persons whose bodies were burned and charred beyond recognition were not identified as of early Wednesday afternoon, but the flight service chief at Garden City Airport said it was not a local plane.
(The casualties were:
BETTY MATHERS, his wife, of Miles City, Montana)
Gene Anderson said that radio contact from the Cessna single-engine 210 plane was received by Garden City flight service, but exact cause of the crash has not been determined.
"The aircraft did report problems just prior to the crash," Anderson said, adding that
"the engine had quit."
Anderson said the pilot said he was attempting to land the small aircraft on a country road.
"He realized he wouldn't be able to glide this far (to the airport). He was attempting to land on the road in the area," Anderson said.
He said Federal Aviation Administration officials were at the scene almost immediately to investigate the cause of the crash.
As ambulances sat idle near the scene, three miles north of US156 on the Experiment Station Road, firemen, detectives, highway patrolmen and other officials hovered over the burned and smoldering wreckage.
It was not determined who reported the downed plane, which crashed through a gas pump cover shed a few feet from the point of impact.
At the scene minutes after the aircraft crashed was Kay Komofske, who spotted smoke from the highway two miles away on her way to her rural home.
"It must have just come down when I saw it," Komofske said, "because the black smoke was just billowing."
Komlofske said at first she thought it was a house on fire which belongs to Junior and Gladys Boyd. That house sits within several hundred yards of the demolished plane.
She said she telephoned authorities from Boyd's house about the burning wreckage, but the incident had already been reported.
"I didn't hear a thing," said Gladys Boyd at the scene. "We live in an adobe house and we can't even hear the wind sometimes."
County coroner Dr. Terry Hunsberger was notified to bring another body bag on his way to the scene, because only one was on hand.
Anderson said the Garden City Airport had no flight plane on file for the Cessna aircraft, so apparently the plane had not intended to stop over at the local airport until problems were encountered.

Garden City Telegram Kansas 1979-09-05