Moorhead, MN Airliner Crash Kills 14, Oct 1941
AIRLINER CRASH KILLS 14.
BIG SHIP WRECKED AT MOORHEAD, MINN.
Pilot Sole Survivor Of Northwest Line Crack-up Today.
(By Associated Press)
Moorhead, Minn., Oct. 30 -- Fourteen persons were killed today when a Northwest Airlines transport plane crashed in a prairie a mile north of this northern Minnesota city, and two miles from the Fargo, N. D., airport, its objective.
Only survivor of the crash was Captain CLARENCE BATES, of Minneapolis, the pilot, who was thrown clear as the big ship struck the earth a glancing blow, bounced 100 yards and then piled up and burned.
Capt. BATES was said to have suffered only shock, but physicians would permit no one to talk to him.
Time of the accident was placed at about 1:54 a.m., when the Northwest Airlines dispatcher at St. Paul heard from the plane, westbound from Chicago to Seattle, that it was over the Fargo airport at 2,700 feet and descending.
Making a routine instrument approach in weather described on the surface as "thick" with a freezing temperature, the pilot next should have reported when he sighted land.
The dispatcher vainly tried to contact the plane at 2:00 a.m. Ten minutes later, police telephoned that a plane had crashed.
Pilot Found Dazed.
The crackup occurred on a flat prairie. Captain BATES, dazed, was found wandering in a field by motorists attracted by the flames. There apparently were no witnesses to the catastrophe.
CRELL HUNTER, NWA general manager, left St. Paul with a plane and crew to resume the westward trip started by the ill-fated liner.
Captain BATES had to be restrained from trying to climb into the burning wreckage to rescue the victims according to CHARLES BAILEY, Columbus, O., and EVELINE BERG, Fargo beauty operator, enroute home from a suburban night club when they saw the fire.
They said BATES was led back to the scene after being found in a field. BAILEY quoted him as mumbling about freeing the occupants but urging the gathering crowd to keep away from the wings because they contained gasoline.
MISS BERG who accompanied BATES to the hospital said he apparently tried to tell what happened enroute. BOB DONAHUE, local advertising man who also rode in the ambulance, said BATES mumbled something about the air speed indicator not working and about controls not responding because of ice.
The special plane bringing NWA officials also brought Civil Aeronautics association representatives. The latter instructed county authorities to remove the bodies and rope off the wreckage.
Meanwhile, Captain BATES had been quieted by sedatives administered in a Fargo hospital. He was to be questioned later.
List Of Victims.
First noticed by the airline and CAA inspectors was a thick coating of ice on the leading edge of one wing. This presumable formed in the air and not from the water poured on by firemen.
Marks where the plane first struck the ground showed the landing wheels were retracted, indicating the pilot was not trying for a forced landing. Propeller marks also strengthened belief the motors were pulling.
After a hasty check of the wreckage, GEORGE GARDNER, NWA vice-president in charge of operations, said:
"Until every bit of evidence from the ship and crash scene are correlated by the various investigators, it isn't possible to even guess what happened."
List of Dead.
The passenger list announced by Northwest airlines at St. Paul included:
MRS. JAY PACKARD, 50, Atlantic City.
F. R. LOWELL, Springfield, Ohio, sales manager of the Superior Engine division of the National Supply company.
R. W. RAMSEY, 47, North Canton, O., president and general manager RAMSEY Lumber company, Aultman, O.
W. A. METZGER, 39, New York, sales manager, portable division, Royal Typewriter company.
L. C. CARR, Highland Park, Ill., employe, NWA Chicago office.
A. F. SIMONSON, 45, Grand Forks, lumberyard operator and farm machinery dealer.
C. W. FARUP, 45, Grafton, N. D., automobile dealer and real estate man.
NED WELLS, 41, Fargo, N. D., sales manager, Dakota Tractor & Equipment company.
E. A. KING, 45, Fargo, N. D., president Dakota Tractor & Equipment company.
MISS HELEN FORD, 33, Fargo, N. D.
HENRY G. KLOPP, Spokane, Wash., president of the White Pine Slash Co.
A. H. BROWN, Billings, chairman, Montana state Republican central committee and supreme counsel for the Imperial Order of the Shrine.
Co-Pilot ALDEN ONSGARD, 25, Minneapolis.
Stewardess BERNICE BLOWERS, Welcome, Minn.
The News-Palladium Benton Harbor Michigan 1941-10-30