Ft. Bragg, NC Transport Crashes Into Hall, Mar 1954
SEVEN KILLED AT FORT BRAGG WHEN BURNING C119 FLYING BOXCAR SMASHES MESS HALL.
Ft. Bragg, N.C., March 30 (UP) -- A crippled C119 Flying Boxcar, its pilot fighting to make an emergency landing on a narrow parade field, crashed into a mess hall here today, killing seven men and injuring 10 others.
The bodies of five servicemen were recovered. The heroic pilot, 1st Lt. ALBERT W. PARKS of Cannelton, Ind., died later in the hospital. The body of another soldier aboard the plane was still missing in the ruins.
Ten others, including four from the plane, somehow managed to escape with their lives and were rushed to the hospital with injuries.
Officials here said that of the four crew members of the plane, the pilot, was killed, two others were injured and one was missing. Three of the five Army passengers were killed and the other two injured. Of the seven men known to be in the mess hall, two were killed and five were injured. The 10th injured man was a rescue worker sprayed with flame when a gas tank exploded.
Eyewitnesses said the huge troop-carrier, listing badly from a burning engine, came roaring over the crowded "Smoke Bomb Hill" troop area at 10 a.m. (EST), struck the top of an officer's barracks and skidded across the parade grounds into the mess hall.
The plane exploded into flames and it was nearly two hours before firemen could bring under control the blaze that swept the building.
Airman 1C EUGENE R. SNYDER, 23, of Donelson, Tenn., the flight engineer and the only crew member to walk away from the plane, said PARKS gave orders for the men to prepare to jump as the plane lost altitude.
"The pilot told me to go back and tell the men to get ready to jump. When I got out of my seat. I noticed we were very low. I asked if we were too low. About that time something hit. I looked out the window and saw a telephone pole go by and hit the left wing. Then I ducked down behind the pilot's seat, put my head down and just rode it out."
One officer who saw the crash said the pilot was trying to pull back on the controls as the plane roared down on the barracks area.
"He was trying to avoid hitting the barracks and get in at the best angle for a landing on the parade ground," the officer said.
When the plane struck the roof of the bachelor's officers quarters, its tail section was torn loose. The plane glided part of the way across the 150-yard wide parade field and then skidded about 100 feet into the mess hall.
Soldiers rushed into the flaming mess hall moments after the crash and pulled three men from the rear section of the wrecked plane. However, it was nearly two hours before rescue workers could again get to the plane, which was buried under the charred timbers of the mess hall.
Lt. Col. B. A. KATZ, another eyewitness to the crash, said it "appeared unbelievable that anyone could have survived, either in the plane or in the mess hall."
"The pilot did a heroic thing trying to avoid hitting a barracks and in attempting to land in the open parade ground, thus saving as many lives as possible," KATZ said.
One officer said that if the plane had crashed two hours later, about 200 men would have been eating lunch in the mess hall.
OFFICIAL LIST OF THE DEAD
Fort Bragg, N.C., March 30 (UP) -- The official list of dead, missing and injured in today's crash of a C119 Flying Boxcar into a mess hall in the "Smoke Bomb Hill" troop area here:
1st Lt. ALBERT W. PARKS, 25, son of Albert W. B. Parks, Rt. 1, Channelton, Ind., pilot.
Cpl. OSMAN S. PALMER, 23, Locke Mills, Me.
Cpl. ROBERT DERVAN, 21, 1014 Whitney Ave., Albany, Ga.
Pvt. ALBERT G. MARIN, JR., 20, Wampole, Mass. -- all attached to the 82nd Airborne Division Quartermaster Co., Ft. Bragg, N.C.
Cpl. DONALD F. GREENLEE, 22, Albion, Pa., attached to the Psychological Warfare Center, Ft. Bragg.
Pvt. 1C JAMES A. MACRE, 22, of Bonnie Doon, N.C., and Creekside, Pa., attached to Psychological Warfare Center, Ft. Bragg.
Airman 1C R. V. SHORT, Stewart AFB, Smyrna, Tenn.
Pvt. R. E. SALISBURY, 18, Columbus, O.
Chief Warrant Officer WILLIAM ANGELOFF, 39, both passengers on the plane.
Sgt. HENRY C. CLAY, Cullman, Ala., in the mess hall at the time of the accident.
In less serious condition are:
Co-pilot 1st Lt. RAYMOND FITZSIMMONS.
AFC EUGENE R. SNYDER, of the plane's crew.
Three men who were in the mess hall:
EDWARD A. ROSS, Darlington, S.C.
Pfc. EDWARD ELLISON, Chicago.
Pfc. WILLIAM COOK, WHiteburg, Ky.
Capt. CHARLES L. SHIRLEY, who rushed to the crash scene, was burned about the hands and arms aiding in rescue efforts.
Aiken Standard And Review South Carolina 1954-03-31