Seattle, WA Service Men Die In Transport Crash, Nov 1955


Seattle (AP) -- A chartered airliner loaded with GIs homeward bound for the Thanksgiving holidays crashed shortly after takeoff Friday and at least 27 persons died as it exploded and burned.
Forty-seven others including the three-man crew survived the crash.
The four-engined DC4, a non-scheduled airliner chartered to the Army by the Peninsular Air Transport Co., of Miami Springs, Fla., carried 66 servicemen who came home from the Far East Thursday.
Also aboard, in addition to the crew, were a woman and three children and a reserve pilot.
The crash was the second in the West in less than 24 hours. Fourteen were aboard a C54 which crashed in Nevada Thursday.
Friday's crash came brief minutes after the plane left Boeing Field on a flight to Chicago, its first scheduled stop. The ship plowed into a hillside in a residential district, broke into pieces and burst into flames. A huge chunk hit the rear of a house where a mother and her five children were sleeping. They escaped uninjured.
EUGENE CASEY, 19, of Chicago, one of the survivors, said he was seated on the left side of the plane near the emergency door when it hit.
CASEY suffered shock and severe burns. He said the takeoff had been delayed by a snowstorm which had covered the Seattle area during the day.
As it neared the crash site, he said, the "whole plane started jarring. I saw wires snap."
"I don't know how I got out. I walked right through the fire."
"I crawled and the man in front of me was screaming. I was afraid I'd fall down. I wouldn't be able to go on."
"Some GI stumbled down and I grabbed him. I started screaming."
CASEY said he started walking and crawling to a nearby house.
"I didn't think I'd make it. I never screamed or prayed so hard in all my life."
Part of the plane came to rest in the yard of Mrs. Donald Renard. Mrs. Renard said there was a "terrific explosion," and "the next minute my yard was full of soldiers."
Every available ambulance was sent to the scene and the injured were rushed to three hospitals.
The soldiers were among the 2,833 who arrived here Thursday on the transport Gen. R. L. Howze from the Far East.
There were few witnesses to the take off and crash.
Herbert Gardiner, a Boeing Airplane Co., employe, told of hearing the plane pass over. He said one of the engines sounded "flat," and no exhaust was visible from another engine.
Gardiner said the plane seemed to be about 150 feet off the ground ... "Much too low, considering the distance it had traveled from the field."
E. J. Rice, who lives nearby, said as he watched a wing clipped a tree and the plane tipped. The lower wing struck some tool sheds and a garage and the plane skidded into a tree.

The Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1955-11-18


Your Uncle John Thomas

Hi Carolyn,
I just signed on to the site and saw your posting to me. If you would like to compare notes and talk contact me at

Plane crash

Hello Robert, just saw your message..I was one of the kids in the crash. It’s so amazing that you remember us on the plane. Would love to hear any other memories you have. Thanks for reaching out, My email is Sincerely , Mary McGrath

Plane crash

I live in Barnstead NH. Do you folks still live in Mass?,
and how are you doing.Bob Oberg

Christine Wescott

Hello - My uncle John Thomas, whom I have never met was a survivor of this crash and passed away a few days later from his injuries. I hope to learn as much as I can about this crash and hope to connect with people who have stories to share. Looking forward to hearing from you...

Sitting across the isle from you

I remember you children. I was sitting on the left side of the plane.We were right up front. Sorry about your dad.God bless you kids and your mother. Robert from new Hampshire.

Your father Ed McGrath and 1955 Plane Crash

Hi Mary,
I am Christine Wescott and as I stated before, My father was one of the soldiers on board the ill fated 1955 plane crash. I have found a survivor Gene Casey who now lives in Bartow FL. He was sitting behind you originally before he moved his seat and remembers your family. I am really interested in speaking to you and I know Gene would also. Please contact me at
Thank you

Hi Mary, My father Robert

Hi Mary,
My father Robert Wescott was a survivor on that plane crash. Please accept my condolences on your loss. Could you give me more information on this accident? My father was killed in Vietnam in 1969. I want to find out about him and what happened that day.
Thank you
Christine Wescott


I was one of the three children on the plane ..My father who died in the crash was Edward McGrath. Not Earl.. I was supposedly thrown from the plane as it hit the first tree. I was found and taken to a different hospital than my mother and 2 brothers.

Nov 17 '55 air crash in Seattle (Boulevard Park)

A friend claims he was driving a tow truck in the area at the time of the crash and used the truck's winch/cable to pull some of the wreckage apart, helping some of the passengers escape. Is there any printed record of this?


I remember this one. It came right over our extremely humble house above and south west of BFI. I'm still stunned by it.

Trig Johnston
Captain, NWA (Ret)
New River, AZ