Camp Edwards, MA Planes Collide In Mid Air, Apr 1952 - Investigators
TWO SETS OF INVESTIGATORS CHECK WITNESSES OF CAPE COD AIR TRAGEDY.
12 KILLED AS C-47 AND JET FIGHTER COLLIDE AT 6,000 FEET OVER CAPE EDWARDS.
Otis Air Force Base, April 10 (UPI) -- Horror-struck witnesses of a mid-air collision that killed 12 airmen were questioned by two boards of inquiry today as the Air Force looked for a possible flaw in safety regulations.
One board was composed of officers at the scene of the spectacular crash here yesterday and another flew here from Stewart Air Force base in Newburgh, N.Y., home base of a C-47 transport in which seven officers and three enlisted men hurtled to their deaths.
Shower Of Flame.
The transport and an F-94 all-weather jet fighter carrying a pilot and radar man collided as they emerged from a cloud formation 6000 or 7000 feet up and plummeted to earth in a shower of flame.
An Oits Air Force base spokesman said one of the planes might have come unexpectedly out of the clouds and smashed into the second. Both plants had just taken off from the field.
RALPH PERRY, a state fire warden stationed in a tower at nearby West Falmouth, said he heard an explosion and saw the wreckage falling around a Camp Edwards firing range area.
"It was only a matter of seconds before the woods began catching fire," he said. Crews from Camp Edwards and fire fighters from nearby towns had the series of six fires under control last night.
Besides PERRY, scores of eyewitnesses telephoned news of the crash to authorities even as the wreckage fell earthward.
The wreckage of the jet plane still contained the bodies of CAPT. CHARLES E. SMOKE, 35, of Shenandoah, Ia., the pilot, and First Lieut. THADDEUS C. KULPINSKI, 32, of Philadelphia, radar observer. Only the pilot of the transport was still in the plane when it hit the ground. The passengers were thrown clear.
Those aboard the transport were:
Lieut. Col. WILLIAM C. BRYSON, 34, Stewart Air Force base.
Maj. BENJAMIN C. BECKMAN, 34, Cornwall-On-Hudson, N.Y.
Maj. LELAND A. BERG, 36, Goshen, N.Y.
Capt. LANE S. HENDRICKS, 31, McHenry, Ill.
Capt. CLIFTON FOSTER, 33, Gardnertown, N.Y.
Capt. RICHARD E. HEDER, 31, Rock Tavern, N.Y.
Capt. WILLIAM H. ERWIN, 31, Herrin, Ill.
T-Sergt. WILLIAM D. POLLOCK, 29, Newburgh, N.Y.
T-Sergt. DEANE B. COOPER, 41, Bowersville, O.
Airman First Class HARRY E. HARDESTY, 21, Campbell Hall, N.Y.
The Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1952-04-10