Carswell Air Force Base, TX Bomber Crash, Sep 1949
FIVE AIRMEN LOSE THEIR LIVES.
REASON FOR B-36 CRASH IS BEING STUDIED.
Fort Worth, Sept. 16. (AP) -- What caused the first crash of a B-36 is the big question at Carswell Air Force Base tonight.
The giant bomber should have flown -- but didn't.
Five airmen died when the great ship failed to take off last night and roared into a lake at 100 miles per hour. Three bodies have been found. Two are missing. Eight men escaped with slight injuries.
"After questioning all of the men involved in the accident, we are more in the dark than ever as to its cause," Maj. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, EIghth Air Force commander, said. "When we salvage the plane, we may find the answer."
A grim, silvery island -- broken wreckage of a plane as big as three five-room houses -- marked the scene of the crash in Lake Worth. A diver found the body of Maj. JOSEPH L. LEMMING, JR., of Dayton, Ohio, in the plane today. He located one other body which was not brought to the surface immediately. Two other bodies are missing.
T/Sgt. WILLIAM G. SEYMOUR of Fort Worth, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Seymour of Charleston, W. Va., died shortly after the crash. The three whose bodies have not been recovered were:
M/Sgt. JOHN G. STANKO, relief flight engineer, Appollo, Pa.
Lt. HERMAN S. STYLES, JR., radioman-navigator-bombardier, native of Lynch, Ky., whose parents live at San Antonio.
Capt. HAROLD KERNODLE, 30, spare pilot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Kernodle of Hampden Sydney, Va. His widow and two infant daughters live in Fort Worth.
"Maj. Troy B. Husband, the pilot, said everything checked out before the takeoff," Gen. Ramey declared. "Everything was in good shape. He started down the runway, got to a speed of 110 miles per hour, felt the ship become light and take off and then felt it begin to settle back to the runway."
'He then called for emergency power, and the flight engineer, First Lt. Richard L. English, gave him emergency power. The emergency power was indicated on the instruments, but the plane was not delivering it. It did not become airborne again."
"By that time, the 36 had reached the end of the runway and Maj. Husband horsed back on the stick to keep the nose high for the impace with the water. But the nose did not stay high. The plane hit the water, nose first. The nose took a terrific jolt. All four missing men were in the nose."
"It was a regrettable accident, but an accident we all knew would come some day. When men handle machines, whether the machines be bicycles or aircraft, you must expect accidents. We have flown the B-36 two years without a previous serious accident, more than 5000 hours without serious trouble."
The world's largest land based bomber was built to carry a 10,000-pound bomb load 10,000 miles. From United States bases it could hit any target anywhere in the world -- and return.
The eight survivors were rescued from the lake and top of the ship. They were interviewed at a news conference this morning.
Galveston Daily News Texas 1949-09-17