Chase, MD Plane Hit By Lightning and Crashes, May 1959

It sent a team of investigators to the scene.
The Viscount -- the one which exploded -- is powered by jet-driven turbines which turn the propellers. The Constellation, which crashed at Charleston, was powered by conventional, piston-driven props.
The wreckage of the Viscount spewed over an area of small farms and clusters of houses.
ETHEL COMBS said she was in her kitchen when she heard what she thought was a thunderclap.
Saw Flaming Parts.
"All of a sudden the children, who were outside playing baseball started screaming and running toward the house," she said. "I ran to the back door and saw three parts of the airplane coming down. All of them were on fire. One piece was quite large. The other not so big and the third one small."
WALTER BEVANS, SR., 70, said he was driven to the porch by the squall.
"I saw a terrible light -- and then smoke in the sky. I saw a man's body fall in the field. I ran inside and told my daughter-in-law to call for ambulances."
His daughter-in-law, JUANITA BEVANS, was fixing dinner for her husband and three young children when she heard an explosion. She saw a ball of flame in the air and watched the wreckage come down.
Surrounded By Bodies.
One piece of the plane fell near the BEVANS' home. There was one body in front and three in back of the house.
MRS. BEVANS' husband, WALTER, went outside and had her call an ambulance. He said the bodies were badly mangled.
Two Baltimore County patrolmen in the area said they heard an explosion above the overcast clouds and saw two balls of fire fall.
Most of the bodies and plane debris was scattered over the farm of ROY NORRIS, 53, who described a scene of "bodies with arms off, legs off, all over the place. It's a hell of a mess."
One of the bodies landed on Eastern avenue, a main thoroughfare through the area.
The area of the scattered wreckage is flat, partly wooded, partly farmland, and clusters of houses, bordering on inlets from the reaches of the upper Chesapeake Bay.
State police estimated the wreckage was strewn over an area 1 1/2 miles long. The four engines all fell within a 100-yard circle. The propeller on one was missing.
One of the engines dug a hole three-to-five feet deep in the wet earth but all were visible. The largest pieces of wreckage was the badly charred left wing.
The largest group of bodies, about a dozen, was found in freshly plowed field along Eastern avenue and the Pennsylvania Railroad's main line.

Continued on Page 3.

Comments

My father, Dr. Arnold Walter

My father, Dr. Arnold Walter Pensig, was killed in this crash when I was four months old. My mother later told me that my father had $100 in his wallet when he left that day. There was no money in the wallet when it was returned to us.

Chase plane crash May 1959

My father worked at Glenn L. Martin at the time. I was a little girl when it happened. We would drive down Eastern Ave. where many of the bodies fell in the field near the railroad tracks. He told me that people went there to look for personal items -money, jewelry, etc. after the crash. I always think about it went I drive past the spot.

Airplane crash in Chase, MD. 1959

I was there i lived on Bengies Rd. & Earls Rd.. My cousins and i was in our front yard watching the plane before it was struck by lightning. we were maybe the first People on the scene. No one asked us any questions back then , because i guess we were black children. The major airplane crash this week, brought back those memories. i will never forget all those bodies burned and torn apart thrown everywhere. Then emergency help began to arrive. My great grandfather back in the day owned land attached to Glen L. Martin's Air Base. He lived in what is now called Wilson's Point. found your site by just searching for the crash date. This a very historical moment for me. i have so much history on the Old Chase, Md. July 24, 2014

The usual struck by lightening twaddle

The accident was caused by loss of control while flying in turbulence between two thunderheads. The upset resulted in a rapid decent, an increase in speed above Vne (never exceed speed) and the subsequent failure of both horizontal stabilizers at their no. 2 hinge points. This caused a extreme pitch down causing all four engine mounts to fail upward and then the separation of the right wing downward and disintegration of the left wing.

This was a classic case of the pilots pulling the wings off the airplane.

CAB Docket # SA-341