Killeen, TX Tanker Plane Crashes, Mar 1959
4 AIRMEN DEAD IN PLANE CRASH DURING STORM.
Killeen, Tex. (AP) -- An Air Force tanker plane crashed on a small mountain near here during a thunderstorm last night, killing the crew of four.
The 4-engine jet KC135 was on a routine training flight from Bergstrom Air Force Base at Austin.
The base listedthe crewmen as:
Lt. RODNEY ANDERLITCH, 25, San Antonio.
Maj. JESSE LE MYRICK, 41, Wichita Falls.
Lt. PHILIP CAMILLO DE BONIS, 25, Newark, N.J.
Sgt. HERMAN ALLISON CLARK, 45, Tampa, Fla.
An Air Force officer said indications were the plane "came apart" before it hit the impact area. He pointed out that two of the jet engines were only damaged when they hit the ground.
The officer said the pilot radioed only three minutes before the crash that everything was all right.
The craft crashed and exploded in a cedar-covered area. Wreckage was scattered over a half mile area. The largest piece of the plane intactwas only four by five feet.
The site of the crash is the Pink Stone Ranch, 10 miles southwest of the Central Texas town of Belton.
Willard Parker, who lives across the road from the ranch, said he was awakened by a loud roar and saw a big orange colored explosion on the mountain.
Another witness, M. T. Moore, who was standing in the door of his home looking out at the storm, said he saw the plane plunge into the mountain with a large trail of fire tailing it.
A. W. Stewart, KLEN newsman here, said the plane burned fiercely, consuming an acre or two of cedar brush.
The plane went down in rough country nine miles east of here in central Texas.
Stewart said he saw a partly burned wallet from the crash scene which contained the papers of an army reserve lieutenant named RODNEY ANDERLITCH of San Antonio.
Paris News Texas 1959-04-01