Elkton, KY Chartered Airliner Crashes In Field, Nov 1972
10 DIE IN KENTUCKY AIR CRASH.
CHARTERED FLIGHT TO SEE BALLGAME.
Elkton, Ky. (UPI) -- State Police said a twin-engine Beechcraft 10 seater chartered airplane crashed into a field seven miles west of here just before midnight (CST) Friday, and all 10 persons aboard the plane were believed killed.
Four bodies, all badly mangled, had been recovered by mid-morning. The search for other bodies continued over a wide area of Todd County today.
Capt. CHARLES B. CRUTCHFIELD, commander of the State Police Post at Madisonville, Ky., said, "It's difficult to tell how many there are, because of the condition of those found."
The owner of the plane, Charles Speed Gray, of Bardstown, Ky., president of Metro Air System, Inc., which owned the plane, said the plane had space for 10 passengers, plus the pilot, but he did not know whether it was carrying nine of 10 passengers. There was no co-pilot aboard.
The only one of the victims identified was the pilot, LAWRENCE (LARRY) McDERMOTT, 54, of Elizabethtown, Ky., who had been involved in a midair collision at Louisville last summer.
GRAY, who identified McDERMOTT as the pilot, said he was aboard a small plane last summer which collided with another light aircraft near Louisville's Bowman Field, killing the pilot of the other plane.
GRAY said the plane had been chartered by a group of football fans from Richmond, Ky., who had attented the Class A playoff game between Richmond Madison and Trigg County High Schools at Hopkinsville Friday night.
The plane had taken off from Hopkinsville's Memorial Airport a short time before the crash. Witnesses reported a blinding flash, indicating it had explosed in midair.
GRAY said the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) told him the pilot radioed air traffic control in Bowling Green, Ky., shortly after takeoff asking for clearance to climb the altitude from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.
He said that was the last radio contact the Bowling Green air controller had with the ill-fated plane, and added that the air controller lost the plane on the radar screen.
"It was almost as if there was a midair collision, but there have been no reports of another plane," GRAY said. State Police searchers confirmed that as far as they could tell, the wreckage was from only one plane.
The plane was en route back Bluegrass Airport at Lexington where the group from Richmond had boarded it about 6 P. M. EST Friday.
GRAY said McDERMOTT had called his wife in Elizabethtown from Hopkinsville Friday night before the game ended, saying that everything was fine and he expected to be home about 2 o'clock this morning.
The plane had refueled at the Hopkinsville Airport before taking off.
It crashed on the farm of RICHARD SIMONS, who lives near Fairview, Ky.
None of the bodies had been identified by mid morning.
Middlesboro Daily News Kentucky 1972-11-18
SEEK CAUSE OF AIR CRASH FATAL TO 11.
Elkton, Ky. (UPI) -- Federal aviation experts begin today gathering bits of wreckage from a chartered twin-engine plane to determine what caused it to crash near this Southwestern Kentucky town with the loss of 11 lives.
The dismembered bodies were cleared Sunday from the crash scene, 10 miles northwest of here, and identified. Now, the job of putting the plane together for study begins today, said DR. RAYMOND MABRY, southern regional flight surgeon for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
DR. MABRY, of Atlanta, said it will be a slow process, "which could take many weeks before it is known why the plane crashed."
Another expert, GEORGE GREEN, supervisor of the Chicago office of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that determining cause of the mishap "will be a difficult and complex problem" because the impact of the crash resulted in a severe breakup of the 11-year-old beechcraft.
"We will have out hands full just gathering up the pieces," he said.
GREEN also said efforts will be made this week to determine if the plane, owned by Metro Air System, Inc., of Bardstown, was on fire before it crashed shortly after midnight Saturday, or exploded on impact. It dug a crater several feet deep and scattered the victims' bodies over several acres.
It was the worse air disaster in Kentucky since November, 1967 when a Trans World Airlines jet, approaching the Greater Cincinnati Airport in North Central Kentucky, crashed with 70 lives lost.
Besides the pilot, LAWRENCE McDERMOTT, 54, of Elizabethtown, the plane carried two newspapermen and eight other persons, all from Richmond. They had attended a state high school football playoff game between Richmond Madison and Trigg County at Hopkinsville.
The owner of a farm where the plane crashed reported seeing a huge flash in the sky before it went down.
"I went outside and saw a big streak of fire," said RICHARD SIMONS, 73. "When .... it crashed into the ground it made a great explosion like dynamite going off."
The other victims were identified as:
CHARLES C. SHACKELFORD, 29, attorney.
BEN ROBINSON, JR., 27, a beer distributor.
ROY R. WATSON, JR., 26, assistant advertising manager for the Richmond Daily Register.
JAMES A. HOUSE, 21, news editor for the same newspaper.
DAVID KEITH GOOSILN, 27, an employe of the Central Vending Co.
JOE HUNTER, 57, owner of a liquor store.
HUGH F. ROBBINS, 32, attorney.
J. D. FRANKENBERGER, 25, owner of a liquor store.
MAURICE OLIVER MUNDY, 38, owner of a car wash.
GEORGE LYTTLE VERNON, 29, an IBM Corp. employe.
The bodies are at a local funeral home.
Middlesboro Daily News Kentucky 1972-11-20