Patterson, LA Speed Flier Killed In Crash, June 1934
JAMES WEDELL AMONG VICTIMS OF AIR MISHAP.
SPEED FLIER PLUNGED TO INSTANT DEATH WHILE TEACHING STUDENT.
Patterson, La., June 25. -- JAMES R. "JIMMY" WEDELL, 34, daring speed flier and holder of the world plane speed record of 305.33 miles per hour, is dead, the victim of a tragic crash while teaching a student to fly.
"JIMMY" was killed late yesterday in the crash to earth of a small English-built Gypsy Moth plane in which he was teaching FRANK SNEERINGER, of Mobile, Ala., how to be a pilot.
Within two minutes after WEDELL and SNEEINGER took off the plane went into a nose dive down into a muddy rice field a mile south of the airport from a height of 200 to 300 feet.
WEDELL was killed outright. His skull was fractured, his body was crushed.
SNEERINGER was dangerously hurt but hopes are entertained for his recovery.
Harry P. Willliams, president of the Wedell-Williams air service in which Wedell was associated with him as vice-president, flew to Patterson from New Orleans on word of the accident.
William said that the student, a husky fellow, apparently froze at the controls, and WEDELL was unable to dislodge him.
William asserted the airplane bearing WEDELL and SNEERINGER went into left bank, then into a half roll and dived straight into the ground at high speed.
WEDELL was one of 16 crack American fliers entered in the $75,000 London-to-Melbourne, Australia, race set for next October. For several months he had been conditioning the plane and making preparations for the flight.
WEDELL broke into aviation as a youngster with a salvaged plane which he purchased for several hundred dollars. He had only one hour of flying instruction before he built a plane, and made it fly. WEDELL is to be buried at West Columbia, Tex.
Steubenville Herald-Star Ohio 1934-06-25