Seattle, WA Bomber Crashes Into Meat Plant, Feb 1943

Plane Involved In Disaster Fighting the Blazing Plant Disaster Aftermath



Seattle, Feb. 19 (AP) -- A toll of 28 dead or missing was counted today in the crash of a ponderous, four-motored bomber into Seattle's largest packing house, the worst aerial disaster in Pacific northwest history.
The Boeing bomber, one engine afire during a test flight, smashed into the FRYE & Co. plant yesterday, spreading flaming death and destruction throughout the four-story brick building.
Fifteen Bodies.
Fifteen bodies were recovered within 12 hours after the crash of the faltering, burning aerial giant as its pilot fought desperately to get it to Boeing field for an emergency landing. They included those of the 11 highly skilled Boeing technicians aboard.
The 11, most of them engineers, were headed by EDMUND T. ALLEN, famed test pilot who has dared death dozens of times for the progress of aviation. He was listed as pilot on the tragic flight. He was director of the Boeing flight and aerodynamics department and ofter served as a test pilot for other aircraft companies.
ALLEN'S body was found in the plan[sic] wreckage. Four of the occupants attempted to parachute just before the crash. As the plane was close to the ground their parachutes failed to open.
$250,000 Damage.
Damage to the plant was estimated at $250,000.
Four FRYE company employes bodies were recovered, but only one of them, AUGUST HOBA, was identified. Thirteen other missing workers were feared burned in the rubble of ashes and bricks.
The Boeing company, attributing the crash and the holocaust that followed to "a fire which developed in an engine in the course of a regular test flight," disclosed that the crippled craft kept in communication with the landing field up to its final tragic plunge.
It said the crew reported a fire started in one motor and was extinguished momentarity by automatic carbon dioxide equipment, but it flared up again and spread over one wing.
Cuts Tension Wires.
The bomber lost altitude, sheared through two high tension wires to cut off most of the city's electrical service, and crashed into the plant. If the crash had come 10 or 15 minutes later it would have caught dozens more workers in the building as they returned from their lunch hour.

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