Ft. Dix, NJ 45 Die In Military Plane Crash, July 1956

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Ft. Dix, N. J., July 13 (AP) -- A military transport plane, taking off from a rainswept McGuire Air Force Base, crashed in a swampy pine forest today killing at least 45 persons, two of them children. Twenty-one others were injured.
An airman aboard, one of the least injured survivors, said the four-engine C118 hit an air pocket and split as it landed on its belly. The big plane did not burn.
Airman ALBERT J. BUCK, a survivor who suffered a fractured ankle, told an Army doctor -- Lt. Col. Horace Doty -- that the plane hit an air pocket just as it left the runway at McGuire, 30 miles south of Trenton.
Maj. Huly Bray, information services officer, said some of the survivors were so badly injured that they were not expected to live until morning.
The plane, bound for Burtonwood, England, carried a crew of 10 and its 56 passengers included 41 airmen, 9 officers, and 6 civilians, including 2 children.
The big craft had lost radio contact with the field, and the crash was not discovered for several hours after it occurred about 4 p.m. Search parties had been sent out only on suspicion of a mishap.
Number One.
The Military Air Transport Service said in Washington today's Douglas Liftmaster, was the first fatal accident suffered in five years of operating such craft.
The big plane had seats which faced toward the back of the plane.
It was reported in Washington the rescuers attempting to get to the crashed plane had difficulty in bringing vehicles near it because of the wooded area. Victims were carried out by hand.
The plane smashed into a pine forest three miles from the end of the runway and scattered wreckage over a half-mile area. It did not burn.
The wreckage apparently was signted first from the air and ground rescue parties were rushed to the scene.
Lightning, storm and blinding rain turned the scene into a quagmire.
Mililtary ambulances, buses and trucks were dispatched to the area from here and McGuire.
Companies of foot soldiers, carrying axs, entrenching tools, and other gear, waded knee deep and hip deep through swamp water to get to the site.
Bulldozers were used to clear a path to the wreckage for doctors and nurses.
The plane had cut its own swath through the pine trees, smashed apart and rolled on its side. Parts of the ship, including wings, motors and other metal parts were scattered back through the woods for a half-mile.
Half a dozen communities in the area sent first aid squads to help the military.
Another Air Force spokesman said a casualty list would be issured as soon as the next of kin are notified.
He said there was a two-hour delay in reporting the crash because no one was sure the plane had gone down.
McGuire, a huge base adjacent to this Army post, was formally dedicated less than a year ago and described at the time as destined to become one of the greatest international airports in the world.

The Daily Record East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania 1956-07-14

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13 July 1956/Fort Dix Air-crash

My mother was killed in this crash. At the time I was 12-years old and at boarding school in England.
I am grateful to those who have kept alive all those dear souls that were lost to us on that fateful day. Thank you.

Woman’s body found under plane

Darold Dorr,
I don’t know if you will get this but I’m wondering if you remember the name of the woman found under the plane? My aunt, Geraldine Forsyth, was killed in the crash. She was a flight attendant in the Air Force. So much of her death has remained a mystery to us and as the family genealogist these details are very important.
Thank you in advance.

Hi Lisa, I am a niece of

Hi Lisa, I am a niece of Jesse Lange, a survivor or this plane crash. Jesse turns 80 on March 20th this year, and as a surprise, I was hoping to find fellow survivors, responders and affiliates (and their family members) willing/wanting to reunite and celebrate the lives of those who survived and those who perished during this horrific plane crash.

My search is just beginning, any information you have collected, and are willing to share, is appreciated.

Tammy Phillips

Plane Crash Reunion

Hi Jean, I am a niece to Jesse Lange who is a survivor of this horrific plane crash. Jesse turns 80 this March. For his party I was hoping to find survivors, responders and affiliates of this plane crash who would like to attend a birthday/reunion celebration. When I listen to his stories, read articles and see pictures, I am truly amazed there were any survivors I believe their lives, as well as those who did not survive, should be celebrated.

I am just starting this search and any information you have collected over time, and are willing to share, would be appreciated.

Tammy Phillips
San Antonio

Lt. Proudlove was a dear

Lt. Proudlove was a dear family friend. His parents and mine were inseparable. Both Jerry and myself were only children and when Jerry was killed, his parents, my parents, and I moved to Phoenix to be near Williams Air Force Base where he took his pilot's training. I was given his wings, and other memoribilia that was on his person that day. No Friday the 13th will ever go by that I do not think about this accident. Jerry was nine years older than I am, a sort of "hero-worship" on my part. He was a Sigma Chi at OSU and I still have his Sigma Chi pin. His memory will always be a part of me and now my children remember him as well. Your post is all I have ever read about him the day of the accident. Thank you!

Plane Crash


My Grandfather, who is still alive, was one of the survivors of that plane crash. Thomas B Murray is his name. He was injured pretty severely in the crash. He hung upside down for hours until he was rescued, a metal part of the seat had punctured his foot. He ended up in the hospital for 18 months after the crash. He had just been home to bury his father and was headed back to Germany. His brother was also supposed to be on that plane but for some reason he wasn't able to make that flight.

I have always been intrigued by this story, and for some reason, today, I decided to look it up to see if there was information out there about it.

I too send my sympathies to the families that lost loved ones that day. And even though I do not have a close relationship with my Grandfather anymore, I am very thankful that he survived. Ironically enough, he went on to work for Boeing as an Engineer - he always hated to fly. Imagine that.

If you have any more information or if any of you knew my Grandfather, I would love to hear from you to get more details of this horrific day in history.


Jean Sumers

C-118 crash at McGuire AFB July 13, 1956

I was an medic stationed with the 1400th Dispensary at McGuire AFB from 1955 to 1957. I was off duty and at our barracks that day in July when the phone rang and I was alerted to the plane crash that had occurred during a horrific rain and wind storm . I was told to organize any others at the barracks to get ready to search and treat survivors of the crash that had occurred in a swamp somewhere near the base. We were transported by ambulances and a bus to go the scene and then entered the woods where a path had been cleared by bulldozers. The crash scene was in waist deep swamp water that was covered in debris and the water was saturated with gasoline and oil. The doctors and nurses that had arrived from McGuire and Fort Dix
were inside the largest part of the fuselage and around the area doing triage that is doing evaluations on the injured to see which ones might survive their injuries and those that were too seriously injured that more than likely wouldn't make it. It was demanding work very difficult carrying two man stretchers out with the wounded to the ambulances and then coming back for more of the injured. Many of us medics had to stay around for the duration in case of our being needed by the doctors and also to wait for us to go under the main body of the fuselage where a body of one of the crew members ( a Womens Air Force) flight attendant waS located. We had to rush in once the part of the plane was lifted and retrieve her body. Later on I learned it was a girl I knew having met her at our dispensary. Later that evening the NCO club at McGuire was opened for all the personnel that worked the scene . I had nightmares many years for what I observed that day and now realize it was more than likely what is now called PTSD. MY thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones on that flight and od course any survivors still living.

Responders to the sight

My dad just recounted the story of this horrific plane crash to my nephew, who is doing a paper on my dad and events in history. He told us how he was one of the responders to the plane crash, as he was stationed at Fort Dix. The memories of what he saw still haunts him to this day. His name is Herbert Ferreira.

plane crash

My dad was a survivor in this crash Robert revens even though misspelled in article as begins from rhode island my father spoke of.crash an always choked up an cried a lot of his.friends did not survive. He kept articles from paper etc an would read them often to remind himself of that day an friends post

plane crash

Hi Tom, My uncle Raymond was killed in the crash. I would like to talk to you about it. Will you please get in touch with me by email? Hope to hear from you. Have a nice day. Donna