Mt. Carmel, PA Airliner Crash, Jun 1948
43 PERSONS KILLED IN DC-6 PLANE CRASH.
INVESTIGATORS PROBE WRECKAGE; HITS POWER LINE NEAR MT. CARMEL.
Mt. Carmel, Pa., June 18 -- (AP) -- Investigators probed through the scattered wreckage of a United Airlines DC-6 today, searching for the cause of the crash that took the lives of 43 persons, including that of theatrical producer EARL CARROLL.
The big airliner, enroute from San Diego, Calif., to New York, plowed into a 60,000-volt power line and exploded into flames yesterday afternoon near this eastern Pennsylvania anthracite community.
The wreckage sprawled over an acre of woodland. The bodies -- 39 passengers, including two infants, and four crew members -- were burned and torn, many beyond recognition. Their belongings were scattered everywhere.
"It is as bad a mess as I have ever seen," said Joseph O. Fluett, chief of Region One of the Civil Aeronautics Board. Fluett arrived from New York a few hours after the disaster to head the CAB's investigators.
He was joined by experts from the United Airlines, Douglas Aircraft Co., manufacturers of the big plane and the Airline Pilots Association.
They searched through the wreckage until midnight last night and returned to the task this morning.
"We expect to conduct a thorough and complete investigation but I can see we're going to run into difficulties because the disintegration is so complete," Fluett said.
"We'll use the process of elimination, sorting the most obvious reasons first and go as far as possible on that basis."
Representatives of the airlines and State Police spent most of last night going through the belongings of the passengers and crew. They found, among other things, a wallet containing CARROLL'S name and $1,024 cash. And they also found a baby's purse with a penny inside.
Jack Herlihy, vice president in charge of operations for United, set up an emergency office in one of the colleries, where 80 miners were shaken as Capt. GEORGE WARNER, JR., pilot of Westmont, Ill., veered away from the anthracite breaker which extended 265 feet into the air.
The airliner, flying not more than 30 feet off the ground, was attempting an emergency landing after one of its motors caught fire. It barely missed the breaker, hit the power line and caromed 200 feet into a hillside.