Hastings, MI Army Transport Crashes, Aug 1942
NINE KILLED IN CORNFIELD PLANE CRASH.
BELIEVE MOTOR TROUBLE AND BAD WEATHER ARE CAUSE OF MISHAP NEAR HASTINGS, MICHIGAN.
Hastings, Mich., Aug. 15 -- (UP) -- Unfavorable weather and perhaps motor trouble today were believed to have caused a huge army airplane to crash in a cornfield last night, explode in flames and kill at least nine men.
The pilot apparently had lost his bearings and was in trouble when he circled over the brilliantly lighted Barry county fairgrounds, and headed south, still flying low, toward Battle Creek, site of Fort Custer and Kellogg air field.
A few minutes later, it crashed 300 yards from the farm home of C. W. PROEFROCK and scattered burning parts over four of five acres. Its wings were reported to have been sheared off by tall willow trees a quarter of a mile away.
Soldiers from Fort Custer picked up five bodies in one spot. Four more were scattered over an area of 150 yards.
As a soldier picked up the ninth, he remarked:
"This was the officer."
PROEFROCK'S daughter, CATHLEEN, 14, saw the crash from her bedroom window.
"There was a terrific roar," she said. "Then everything lit up as bright as day. It hit first in the soybean field out by the road. Then it skidded down the lane into the cornfield and it stopped when it hit the culvert at the edge of the lane. The light was almost blinding. It seemed to be coming in the north windows, even though the fire was on the south side of the house."
Prosecutor L. E. Barnett of Hastings who saw the wreckage, said some of the occupants apparently had tried to bail out through the rear door.
"Soldiers from Fort Custer showed me parts of a burned parachute and said it had been released," he said. "That was over by the tail section, pretty far removed from where the fuselage wreckage lay. Here and there around the plane you could see patches of burned fabric on the ground that looked about the same as the part that the soldiers showed me."
Soldiers guarded the wreckage, until the army could complete its investigation.
Detroit, Aug. 15 -- (UP) -- LT. A. C. McDONALD, adjutant at the army's Willow Run flying field, said today the dead in crash of an army bomber near Hastings, Mich., last night included four officers and five enlisted men.
Lt. L. H. TALLY.
Lt. MAURICE E. McCALL.
Lt. GEORGE KING.
Lt. JAMES J. DAILEY.
The enlisted men:
E. L. PROTHER.
STEVE J. SPANTARD.
GEORGE F. STRENGE.
R. W. CARILLON.
McDONALD said he did not have home addresses of any of the men. He declined to say where the plane had taken off and where it was bound.
The Vidette Messenger Valparaiso Indiana 1942-08-15