Montoursville, PA Airliner Hits Mountain In Snowstorm, Dec 1959



Montoursville, Pa. (AP) -- A twin-engine airliner swung away from the airport after trying an instrument approach Tuesday and rammed a 1,400 foot mountain in a snowstorm. Twenty-five of the 26 aboard were killed.
LOUIS MATARAZZO, a passenger, was the lone survivor of the Allegheny Airlines flight.
"The Lord opened my side of the plane and I was able to jump out," he said from his hospital bed in nearby Williamsport. "I fought my way through flames, past the wreckage."
For hours the airline believed there were 25 aboard, but later it said a copilot, DONALD W. TYGERT, 26, of Webster, N. Y., came aboard as a passenger in Philadelphia but had not been on the list of those on the plane.
Severely Burned.
MATARAZZO, 35, of the Philadephia suburb of Springfield, suffered severe burns and his eyes were covered with bandages as he talked with Tom Pettit of WRCA-TV, Philadelphia.
"The hostess was just turning on the loudspeaker and telling us we were coming in," MATARAZZO said. "All of a sudden the pilot seemed to race the motors and pull up. There was a crash. The plane burst and exploded."
The plane, a Martin Executive type, carried 23 passengers and a crew of 3. En route to Cleveland, it was cleared for a landing at the Williamsport-Montoursville Airport at 9:41 a.m. A few moments later it broke through the swirling snow and mist.
Swooped Low.
"It couldn't have been more than 600 or 700 ft. up," said TOM SCHADT, a salesman from Lancaster, Pa., who had just stopped at a plant adjacent to the airport."
The pilot circled away, as if planning another approach, and headed straight toward Bald Eagle Mountain, SCHADT said.
"I heard the pilot gun his motors," SCHADT continued. "A second of two later there was a gigantic crash."
The plane rammed the mountain about midway. The fuselage was shredded. Then fire broke out. But, oddly the tail section was virtually undamaged.
Two other passengers were alive when rescuers reached the scene in this central Pennsylvania community some 90 miles north of the state capital at Harrisburg.
Die During Rescue.
But both died before they could be brought down the mountain.
It took rescue workers 1 1/2 hours to lower MATARAZZO.
Volunteer fireman DONALD AULT, 31, one of the first to arrive by the ground route, said "the first thing I saw was one man, creeping and crawling, coming down the mountain."
As it turned out, this was MATARAZZO, manager of a Philadelphia sportswear company who was on a business trip.
AULT and his party also heard moans from a nearby tree and found a man, strapped to an airplane seat, upside down at the base of the tree. The man died en route to the hospital.
Instrument Landing.
The local control tower said the pilot had been in contact with it and "this deffinitely was an instrument landing," but did not elaborate. An airlines spokesman in Washington said the pilot apparently wanted to make a new and better approach after breaking through the overcast above the airport.
Snow swept into this central Pennsylvania area during the night and there was about an inch on the ground at the time of the crash.
FRED GETTYS, New Cumberland, Pa., and W. T. DERRY, Philadelphia, were found unconscious in the wreckage but died before they could be brought to a hospital.

One Victim Of Crash Known Here.
At least one of the 25 persons killed yesterday in the crash of an Allegheny Airways plane at Williamsport was known in the Stroudsburgs. He was SINCLAIR MUIR, of Philadelphia, an international representative for the International Typographical Union with head-quarters in Indianapolis, Ind. He boarded the plane at Philadelphia enroute to Erie.
MUIR had represented the ITU in negotiations with at least one local printing establishment, The Daily Record. He also spoke at the union's annual banquet here last February.
Boarded at Harrisburg for Cleveland:
FRED GETTYS, Mounted Route, New Cumberland, Pa.
MR. GRUFF, no address.
MR. LEVIN, 333 S. Cameron St., Harrisburg, Pa.
MRS. F. FERGUSON, 1827 S. 27th St., Camp Hill, Pa.
For Bradford.
Boarded plane at Harrisburg for Bradford:
H. O. SNYDER, 1822 Foster St., Harrisburg.
C. RANKIN and J. DRIGGERS, booked by Pera Bula Travel Bureau, Hotel Prince Charles, 428 K St., Fayetteville, N. C.
Boarded at Harrisburg for Erie:
MRS. C. MOONEY, c-O C. A. STRICKER, 4700 Stricker Rd., Lawton Gardens, Harrisburg.
JACK SVITZER, 411 Graylock St., Stratford-on-the-Potomac, Alexandria, Va. The airline identified SVITZER as its director of sales.
At Philadelphia.
Boarded plane at Philadelphia for Williamsport:
D. BAER, otherwise unidentified except that he arrived at Philadelphia by Trans World Airways from Los Angeles.
J. MAZZAFERRI, Greenwood and Bacher Rd., Wyncote, Pa.
J. HERMANN, 520 Sherman Rd., Springfield, Pa.
I. MATARAZZO, no address.
ROBERT FENWICK, c.O MR. JOHNSON, Williamsport, Pa.
W. DENNIS and G. BETHEL, Modern Handling Equipment Co., 4200 Sansom St., Philadelphia.
Boarded at Philadelphia for Bradford:
For Erie.
Boarded at Philadelphia for Erie:
Z. H. ZURN, Jenkintown, Pa.
R. KEMBELE, Westinghouse Electric, Philadelphia.
Rev. T. ENGISL, not further identified.
H. JONES, 1603 Winton Ave., Havertown, Pa.
The crew was identified as Capt. THOMAS R. GOLDSMITH, 30, of North Olmstead, Ohio, the pilot; GEORGE MATTHEW BOWERS, 32 Monday, of Parma, Ohio, the co-pilot; and WILLIAM THOMPSON CONGER, 28, of Lakewood, Ohio, the steward.
DONALD W. TYGERT, 26, copilot of Webster, N. Y., boarded the plane in Philadelphia but was not on its manifest.

The Daily Record Stroudsburg Pennsylvania 1959-12-02