Newport, RI Naval Aviators Die In Crash, Jul 1928

NEWPORT, R. I., July 2.—The crash
of a navy seaplane from 1,000 feet
into the harbor resulted in the deaths
of two naval officers today. The
plane, of the Corsair pursuit type,
was doing a series of loops when it
went into a nose dive and struck
the water with terrific force. The
pilot, Commander Thalbert N. Alford,
was killed instantly. His companion,
Lieutenant William Butler
Jr., died several hours later at the
Naval Hospital.
Difficulty was encountered in extricating
Commander Alford's body,
which was strapped in the fore cockpit.
The navy tug Bobolink succeeded
in hauling the plane out of
the water and Chief Boatswain Mate
William E. Hickey of the U. S. S.
Wright removed the body.
Lieutenant Butler was taken to
the Naval Hospital operating room,
where it was found that he was suffering
from multiple head injuries
and possible internal injuries. He
was operated on in a desperate attempt
to save his life, but he died
about 7 o'clock.
Witnesses declared that Commander
Alford had been trying several
loops over the bay and had completed
the fourth, but the plane
failed to straighten out, and going
into a nose dive crashed to the
water. It buckled as it hit the
Special to The New York Times.
WASHINGTON, July 2.—Commander
Thalbert N. Alford and
Lieutenant William Butler Jr., who
lost their lives at Newport, this
afternoon, were among the able
officers of the navy, it was said here
Commander Alford was aide to the
commander of the aircraft squadron
of the scouting fleet and was
attached to the aircraft tender
Wright. He was born in Wills
Point, Texas, Oct. 26, 1887, and was
appointed to the Naval Academy in
1905. He received the Navy Cross
for service in the World War.
He qualified as a naval aviator in
August, 1927. He is survived by his
widow, Mrs. Adele T. Alford of Coronado,
Lieutenant Butler was attached to
the cruiser Concord. He was born
in Hazelton, Pa., Oct. 2, 1896, and
was appointed to the Naval Academy
in 1916. He qualified as a naval
aviator in December, 1926. His home
was in Philadelphia. He was married,
his wife now being in Newport.
July 3 edition of The New York Times