By Telephone to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
LOVETTSVILLE, Va., Aug. 31 -
Senator Ernest Lundeen of Minnesota,
twenty other passengers and
four members of the crew of a
Pennsylvania Central Airlines
transport plane were killed instantly
this afternoon when the plane
crashed in an open field a mile and
a half outside this village. Apparently
the crash came about 3:40
P. M.
The scene of the tragedy was a
half-mile from Short Hill Mountain,
one of the foothills of the Blue
Ridge range, and a mile and a half
: from Route 234, eighteen miles from
Leesburg and about thirty-six miles
west of Washington, in Loudon
County, northernmost part of the
What caused the crash was not
immediately determined. The plane
was proceeding in the midst of a
terrific thunderstorm, with the rain
falling heavily and a thick fog obscuring
visibility. It had left Washington
at 3:18 P. M., the take-off
being delayed on account of the
weather for twenty-six minutes. It
was scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh
at 4 o'clock, but was late on
its course.
Villagers Heard Motor Roar
As the transport, a Douglas DC-3,
passed over this village the roar of
its twin motors are heard distinctly
above the rumble of the storm.
Then a crash was heard. Residents
ran out into the storm and searched,
finding the wreck in the field near
the mountain.
The searchers found the plane
completely wrecked, the debris of
the large transport scattered about
the field, the wings broken from the
fuselage and the motors torn from
their housing. Scattered about the
debris were the bodies of the passengers
and crew, mangled beyond
immediate identification. The
victims had been thrown out by
the impact and the bodies were
spread over an area of several hundred
yards on the soggy field. So
scattered were the people and the
material that the searchers thought
at first that the plane had been
blasted apart by a terrific explosion.
But there apparently had been no
explosion, and in the instant before
the transport hit the earth in
the crash that was heard- for several
miles the pilot, Captain Lowell
Scroggins, or the co-pilot, J. P.
Moore — whoever was at the controls
at the time — was quick enough to
throw his ignition switch and cut
the motor to prevent a fire.
In the circumstances it was a futile
gesture, for death came instantaneously
to all on board, but
in a lesser impact it might have
saved lives.
Local Residents Find Aid Futile
There was evidence of only one
small blaze, in a tire torn from the
undercarriage, apparently caused
by the friction of the impact, and
the rain extinguished it so quickly
that the rubber was only smoldering
a little when the searchers arrived.
Although the victims were spared
an end by fire, they were so
crushed that the first searchers
could not determine the number of
dead and it had to be ascertained
from the airline's records. Finding
the passengers and crew beyond
aid, the local residents first at the
scene ran back to telephones and
summoned the police.
Constables sped to the scene over
treacherous country roads from an
area twenty-five miles distant,
and State troopers were rushed
from their barracks at Leesburg,
eightetn miles away, and from
Frederick, Md., more than twenty
miles away.
Ambulances from Leesburg Hospital
and Winchester Hospital, the
latter institution being twenty miles
away, reached the vicinity only
with difficulty, for creeks and
brooks were rising and the Potomac
River, running through the area,
was overflowing its banks, closing
several of the roads and making
passage through others treacherous
because of washouts.

Sept. 1, 1940 edition of "The New York Times"