Detroit, MI DC3 Plunges Into House, Nov 1949
Three Killed As Plane Hits Detroit Home
Craft Bursts Into Flames On Striking
Detroit, Nov. 19. (AP) - A big freight plane delivered its load of Christmas gifts to Detroit today in a mass of flames and eath.
Three persons were killed the twin-engined DC-3 plunged into a house, unleashing a blazing torrent of gasoline.
The two crewmen, Arthur Dedee, 26, of Brooklyn, N. Y., the pilot, and O. L. (Gus) Morrow, 31, of Hackensack, N. J., the copilot, were trapped in the wreckage. Their bodies were not removed until two and a half hours later.
Harold Witzke, 36, died in Saratoga Hospital. He was taken from the demolished house with both legs almost cut off.
Four other persons in the house were injured - one seriously.
J. E. Scott, research chief of Meteor Air Transport Co., owners of the ship, said engine failure was apparently the cause. The Civil Aeronautics Board began an immediate investigation.
Hero of the crash was Raymond Perry, owner of the house.
"I saw it coming," he said. "Couldn't believe it at first. It just looked mighty low. Then there was a terrible noise. I saw it bounce off the house next door.
"I grabbed my wife and we ran. Then everything fell apart."
Perry said he shoved his wife Edna and his 14-year-old daughter Judy, through a window as the house crumbled around them.
Another occupant of the house, Mrs. Bertha Witzke, 76, mother of Harold, managed to get to the back porch where she was trapped. When rescuers finally got to her, they said, they couldn't grasp her "without the skin pulling right off her body."
The Perrys were treated for cuts at Saratoga Hospital and then released.
The plane was coming into Detroit from Teterboro, N. J., where it took off Friday night. Airline officials said it was loaded with Christmas merchandise for department stores.
Witnesses said the ship floundered about 60 feet from the ground. Some said they saw flames shooting from the engines. The pilot seemed to be struggling for control.
With a roar, it plunged hitting the top of one house and ricocheting into the Perry home. It plunged through to the basement knocking the two-story house back 20 feet.
Only last Wednesday, according to the company, the plane was inspected by the CAA and pronounced in perfect condition.
Gordon Matthews a senior CAA investigator, boarded a plane in Washington to take charge of the probe here. Two other investigators were already on the scene.
The Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME 20 Nov 1949