Burbank, CA Plane Crashes On Approach For Landing, Nov 1944



At least seven persons, including WALTER W. COOPER, City Manager of San Diego, for many years consultant in public utility matters for the City of Oakland, were killed early today when the giant DC-3 transport on which they were passengers crashed into a residential area as it approached the Lockheed Air Terminal at Burbank.
Fifteen of the 23 persons aboard the plane were reported injured. ARTHUR W. CARROLL, a merchant seaman of Seattle, Wash., suffered only from shock.
Berkeley Victim.
One of those seriously injured was MRS. ELEANOR HEILBRON, 22, of 2322 Carleton Street, Berkeley, wife of Lieut. JEROME K. HEILBRON, an Army flier. Lieutenant HEILBRON, just back from the South Pacific, is hospitalized in the southern part of the State and MRS. HEILBRON was flying south to visit him.
COOPER, whose wife, LUCILE, and daughter, MRS. PATRICIA KABLE, 22, live at 177 Hillcrest Road, Berkeley, had been in Sacramento attending a conference of the League of California Municipalities with Mayor HARTLEY KNOX of San Diego, injured in the crash.
Death came to COOPER by a quirk of fate. Both he and Mayor KNOX had cancelled train tickets when they learned of an impending street-car strike in San Diego and took the last plane reservations to speed their return home.
Accompany Manager.
They accompanied City Manager CHARLES R. SCHWANENBERG of Oakland, who also attended the confrence, here yesterday and Deputy City Attorney ARCHER BOWDEN drove them to Mills Field in time to catch the plane.
COOPER first was employed by the city of Oakland in 1927, serving until 1931 when he became director of reasearch for the California Railway Commission, returning to Oakland's employ in 1934 and remaining until his appointment as San Diego city manager in 1942.
Services will be held here with Albert Brown and Company in charge.
The crash dead also listed First Officer THOMAS BAMBERGER, 29, 533C Eagle Avenue, Alameda, of the plane's crew. He leaves a widow and one child.
BAMBERGER, whose family home was in Jackson Heights, N.Y., joined the airline last September after flying previously for other companies. He came here a short time ago.
Extent of injuries to the remaining service personnel and civilian passengers and crew members was not immediately reported.
Pierce Bros. Mortuary, Van Nuys, identified the dead as including, in addition to COOPER and BAMBERGER:
BILLIE JACK HOWARD, Scrammon, Missouri.
HOWARD MULLER, American Paper Stock Co., Indianapolis, Ind.
Capt. JOHN POLLARD SNOWDEN, North Hollywood, Calif., pilot.
The crash sheared off the wings and nose, grinding the wreckage into a heap under the tail. It lay on its side, with pieces strewn for hundreds of feet.
The cabin was broken off at the door, exposing the two rear seats, still in place.
The giant silver-winged craft plunged to the ground a few minutes before it was scheduled to land at the air terminal on a routine flight from San Francisco. It left San Francisco at 12:48 a.m. today, and was scheduled to arrive at Lockheed at 2:30 a.m.
The crash occurred near the intersection of Sherman Way and Sepulveda Boulevard in the Van Nuys area, and only a short distance from the old Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport.
Injured Hospitalized.
The injured were taken to near-by hospitals by ambulance, police officers said.
Airline officials said they had no indication of what caused the crash. Police officers said the craft did not explode and there apparently was no fire.
The plane, listed as T. W. A.'s flight 18, had not reported any trouble prior to the crash, airline officials said.
The twin-motored ship crashed in a muddy field only a few blocks from its scheduled landing place and minutes after a radio contact reporting everything normal.
Residents of the area said the airliner clipped a patch of trees and was demolished as it nosed into the ground.
Ambulance attendants said the deep mud may have accounted for the fact that 16 persons came out alive.
Mayor HARTLEY KNOX of San Diego, suffered cuts about the face.
Other injured included:
JOHN DILLARD, 33, Kansas City.
Lieut. EUGENE LOPEZ, 24, Brooklyn, N. Y.
MRS. R. E. KIBLER, Boston.
Seaman JOHN RENEY, Indianapolis.
GERALD SMITH, 20, of the Navy.
HARRY GAY, merchant seaman, Long Beach.
ARTHUR CAROLL, merchant seaman, Seattle.
DONNA MARR, Birmingham, Ala., flight hostess.
ANTONIO SECEHL, sailor, Oakland.
JOHN R. RAGGI, 23, quartermaster 1/c, U.S.N.
KAY COLGAN, 30, San Francisco.
Survivors Vague.
The survivors were vague as to what happened. Most remembered nothing until waking up in the hospital.
SMITH'S first thought on regaining consciousness was for his parents, according to a United Press story.
"Tell them," he said, "that I'm okay and not hurt bad. My brother got killed overseas just a few days ago."
"That's probably why I'm alive," he said. "I'm a pretty lucky man. There wasn't any motor trouble or anything that I was aware of. But visibility was poor."
Airline officials said the weather "was not bad."
"I was sitting there thinking," KNOX said, "as we started to come in, and suddenly I felt the plane start down too steeply."
"I knew then that something was wrong," KNOX said.
"I grabbed my pillow and put it in front of my face and then we hit. There wasn't much noise that I remember."
The Associated Press reported that the crash was so loud it awakened many residents of the suburban neighborhood, 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Because of the fog and darkness, none could see the plane.
A war dog, recently discharged from the service, found the wreck. His owner released him and when he found the plane he began barking.
The plane shattered to a stop on the lawn of a cottage. The right motor, torn loose, landed almost at the front door.
One of the first to reach the scene was MRS. DELPHINE DE BRON, a trained nurse. She rendered first aid to many of the injured passengers and T. W. A. officials credited her with possibly saving the life of Stewardess DONNA MARR. MRS DE BRON, assisted by her daughter, MRS. JEANETTE MORMON, 19, applied a tourniqunet to MISS MARR'S leg, the A. P. reported.

Oakland Tribune California 1944-12-01