Ft. Dix, NJ 45 Die In Military Plane Crash, July 1956
45 DIE AS MILITARY PLANE CRASHES AT McGUIRE BASE.
AIRPOCKET BLAMED FOR TRAGEDY BY SURVIVOR.
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.
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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