Omaha, NE Plane Crashes Into Plant, Sep 1943



Omaha. (AP) -- A B-25 Mitchell bomber carrying live ammunition plunged through the roof of the Martin-Nebraska aircraft plant Wednesday afternoon, killing 3.
Most employes were out of the building eating lunch or casualties probably would have been greater, Capt. R. L. Southwick, air forces public relations officer, said. Capt. Southwick said a court of officers would investigate the crash.
Killed were the pilot, First Lt. E. D. WALBORN, pilot, 21, Enid, Okla.; ELMER MURPHY, Omaha, a civilian air forces inspector, and JAMES J. LEACH, 41, Omaha, an armorer at the Martin plant. Another armorer, THOMAS P. ZINKEVICH, Omaha, suffered critical injuries.
Some of the live ammunition in the plane exploded and a flying shell casing struck a guard's foot, injuring him slightly, Capt. Southwick said.
Army spokesmen said the plane's left engine apparently caught fire as the plane took off. The pilot circled the field in an attempt to get back onto the runways, but the bomber went out of control as it came across the north boundary of the field, they reported.
It crashed through the roof, lodging in the girders and bursting into flames. The bomber was destroyed, and flaming gasoline cascading onto the floor started a fire. Flames were brought under control within half an hour, officials said.
One B-26 plane beneath was destroyed and another damaged slightly, officials reported.
Most plant employes in this area were sent to their homes following the crash.

Mason City Globe-Gazette Iowa 1943-09-23