Spokane, WA Bomber Crash Kills Four, Apr 1950


Spokane -- Four naval reserve fliers were killed Saturday in the crash of a TBM torpedo bomber.
Names of the victims were withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The four-place bomber was practicing carrier landings. It crashed in a heavily wooded area about a half mile from the Gieger Field Naval Air Station, located eight miles east of here.
The plane sheared off the tops of some trees as it crashed to the earth. It did not burn. The crew consisted of an officer and three enlisted men.
Commander W. C. Grover said the cause of the crash had not been determined. A stiff wind was blowing at the time.
The field is also used by commercial airliners.
The victims were at Geiger for their routine Saturday morning flying. The plane crashed at about 10:55 a.m.
Grover said the four were killed instantly.
The TBM aircraft is also known as the Avenger.

Walla Walla Union Bulletin Washington 1950-04-15



Spokane, Wash., April 15. (AP) -- A Navy torpedo bomber coming in for a landing crashed in some trees a half mile from the field today, killing all four Naval Reserve crew members.
The four-place single-engine Avenger was practicing carrier landings when it suddenly plunged to the earth from an altitude of about 300 feet. The plane was destroyed.
A turret back of the cockpit was ripped from the fuselage and thrown 75 feet from the rest of the wreckage. The gunner's body was found hanging from the turret.
The four fliers, who had jobs in town and came out to practice their flying as reserves only once a month, were from Spokane.
The dead were identified as:
Pilot, Lt. DUANE K. JOHNSON, 34.
JAMES F. UPRICHARD, 37, chief aviation mechanic.
LEWIS J. KNEZEVICH, 21, aviation ordnanceman 3rd Class.
DONALD W. WESTERVELT, 25, aviation mechanic 3rd Class.

Walla Walla Union Bulletin Washington 1950-04-16