Chincoteague, VA Navy Plane Crash, Apr 1957


Navy Bomber Burns In Field After Take-Off

Eye-Witness Tells Of Plunge South Of Chincoteague Station

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va., (AP) - A Navy twin-engine propeller bomber plunged to earth shortly after taking off from the Chincoteague Naval Air Station today, killing the 11 members of its crew.
A Navy spokesman at the air station said the Neptune P2V6M long range bomber crashed in an open field near Atlantic, Va., on Virginia's eastern shore just south of the Maryland line.
The spokesman said personnel at the base reported hearing an explosion and seeing a ball of fire one minute after the bomber was airborne. The crash occurred at 6:55 a. m.
Identification of the crew members was being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Earlier reports said 13 persons were aboard.
The land-based plane was stationed at Chincogeague.
EARL W. DARBY, who runs a general store in the small community of Atlantic, said the plane exploded in the air “fell to earth in a big plume of smoke."
"I jumped in my pickup truck and drove to the field where it came down."
"All I could find was a man's shoe and a man's foot," DARBY said.
DARBY, who said he was one of the first on the scene, said the big plane ripped up a hole in the ground and the main section of the plane buried itself in the hole" about 10 feet deep and 25 feet long.
He said the big plane came down in a big field on the farm of DENNIS HURLEY, two miles south of the Naval Air Station.
DARBY said he saw the plane shortly after it took off, about 7 a. m. It appeared to be headed south and in his judgment was not over 200 or 300 feet above the ground when it turned back toward the base.
He said there was a "backfiring noise" as the plan flew back over Atlantic and suddenly "it exploded in a great ball of fire."
The explosion jarred buildings in the town and rattled windows, DARBY said.
When he arrived at the field, he said he cautioned HURLEY and a couple of others just arriving not to go near the plane because it might explode again. There was another small explosion in one of the wings, he said.
Shortly after, fire trucks and others from the Naval Station arrived, DARBY said, and he left.
He said he saw no other bodies and figured most of them were in the main fuselage, buried in the hole. The wreckage was still burning three hours later, DARBY said.

The Bee Danville Virginia 1957-04-02


Navy Probes Cause Of Crash That Killed 11

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. -- Naval officials are still investigating today the crash of a twin-engine propeller bomber which carried 11 airmen to a fiery death yesterday.

Names of the 11 have been released. They are:
Lt. THOMAS F. ALBERT, the pilot. Next of kin, wife, MRS. JANE O'HERN ALBERT of Chincoteague, Va.
Cmdr. EUGENE T. ALLEN, co-pilot. Next of kin, wife. MRS. ANNA ALLEN, Naval Air Station, Chincoteague, and parents, MR. AND MRS. WILLIAM D. ALLEN of Fairview, Okla.
ARON McCLELLAN, aviation machinist mate 1-c, crew chief. Next of kin, wife MRS. MILDRED S. McCLELLAN, Chincoteague Naval Air Station.
CHARLES FRANKLIN TUCKER, JR., radioman. Next of kin, parents. MR. And MRS. CHARLES F. TUCKER of 3003 King St., Alexandria, Va.

HARVEY H. HARRISON, aviation machinist mate 3-c. Survived by his wife, MRS. EDITH HARRISON of Charleston, W. Va., and parents, MR. And MRS. GEORGE D. HARRISON of Sharon, W. Va.
BILLIE CLARK HESSON, photographers mate 1-c. Survived by his wife, MRS. MARTHA HESSON of Chincoteague, Va.
FRANKLIN CARMINE CULLARI, airman, survived by his wife, MRS. GAIL CULLARI of Chincoteague, Va., and father, ANTHONY CULLARI, of Newark, N. J.
JOHN GROVES, aviation machinist mate. Survived by his parents, MR. And MRS. JOHN. L. GROVES, Elmont, N. Y.
WILLIAM MANLY GRANT, JR., technician. Survived by his wife, MRS. WILLIAM MANLY GRANT, JR., and parents, MR. And MRS. WILLIAM MANLY GRANT, all of St. Louis, Mo.
GEORGE STRACKA, aviation machinist mate. Next of kin, wife, MRS. MARIE GLORIA STRACKA, Sellersville, Pa.
DALE WILLIAM NELSON, aviation machinist mate. Survived by his father, W. H. NELSON, Spokane, Wash.
Lt. Comdr. GLENN HOPKINS, public relations officer at the base, said today that the cause of the crash has not been determined.
The Neptune P2V6M long range bomber crashed in an open field near Atlantic, Va. There was an explosion as the plane turned into a ball of fire at 6:53 a. m., a minute after it was airborne.

The Salisbury Times Maryland 1957-04-03


1957 P2V Crash

I was stationed at Chincoteague Naval Air Station when the plane went down. I was a Dental Technician 2nd Class at the time so was present when the airmen were brought to our hospital for identification. I don't recall working with the identification as I don't think I was on duty that day. I lived on Chincoteague Island at that time and I'm sure dental records were used for identification purposes. My very best friend today Personal Man 2nd Class Luke Miller was stationed there also and we made a trip back to Chicoteague about 10 years ago. It was a big shock to see the base had been shut down in about 1959. The biggest surprise was the beautiful beach on Asseteague Ishand that I never knew existed. There was no bridge to get to the island where all the ponies lived but now it is a wonderful beach and the island of Chincoteague is a huge tourist area. It was a terrible tragedy for all the personal at the base.

Navy plane crash virginia 195

My father was photographers mate Billie Clark Hesson , killed in the crash ,I barely remember anything about the crash, as was only 5 at time my mom Martha Hesson, never remarried ,
as she said she would never find any one else who could compare to my dad .was wondering if any body else was affected by this tragedy is around?

Cdr. Eugene T Allen

I knew his wife, Anna, in Jacksonville, FL shortly after the crash. We were both natives of Iceland, and she and her late husband had three children. I a too old to remember their names, but later heard that Anna remarried and moved to California. I sure would love to know what happened to the lovely kids, but have no way of finding out.
If anybody knows, please email me. Anna grieved horribly the death of Cdr Eugene T. Allen. She said he kissed her early in the morning and whispered that he would return before she was up. He crashed at takeoff.
Thanks for posting this article