Denver, CO Jet Liner Crashes On Landing, Aug 1961



Denver (AP) -- A United Air Lines DC8 jet liner crashed and burned while landing Tues. and at least 18 persons were reported killed. Denver Fire Chief ALLIE FELDMAN said 18 bodies were taken from the smoking wreckage.
An undetermined number of persons was injured. United said the plane on a westbound flight from Philadelphia carried 109 passengers and 7 crewmen.
The plane groundlooped after the crash, swerved off the runway and smashed into a truck. The truck driver was killed.
Police identified him as HENRY BLOM, about 50.
The plane was reported to have 109 passengers aboard along with 7 crewmen.
Ambulances Rushed.
Ambulances, police cars and other vehicles were called into service to take injured persons to hospitals.
The plane was on a flight from Philadelphia.
A policeman said over his car radio: "There are injured parties all over the place."
All available ambulances in the Denver area were sent to the field. Police trucks and other vehicles also were pressed into service to carry injured to hospitals.
Authorities said a temporary morgue was being set up at Smiley Junior High School, west of the field.
The plane was Flight 859, originating in Philadelphia, with stops at Chicago and Omaha.
Policemen arriving at the spot where the wrecked plane flamed fiercly told the dispatcher to "send all the ambulances you can out here."
Witnesses said the jet crashed on the east-west runway. The weather was cloudy. The plane came in from the west, over the city.
MRS. HARRY PRINGLE, who lives nearby, said she heard an explosion and looking out a window saw the big plane burning.
A worker at an aviation company at the other side of the field said he heard "a big bang," and saw "this thing had slewed right around on the runway and burst into flame."
Roads leading to the airport were clogged with sightseers attracted by word of the crash.
There were unconfirmed reports several persons were seen running from the plane after the crash.
Within 20 minutes after the accident, four injured persons from the plane were admitted to Colorado general hospital.
One observer said it appeared the plane was having difficulty with its landing gear system. The gear apparently folded and the plane veered to the north side of the runway.
CHARLES WILSON, employed at an insurance agency near the airport, said, "I heard an explosion or what may have been two explosions, right together."
"First there was all this white, like dust," he said. "Then there was a cloud of black smoke, a great, billowing cloud. I ran over and the plane was burning."
"It wasn't smashed up much, but it was turned around, pointing in the opposite direction from its landing approach."
Among the first injured persons identified were LYLE ORECK, 66, of Phoenix, Ariz, and DENNA POLLARD, MORRIS J. CUTTLER and ROSE BENNETT. Their ages and addresses were not available immediately.
'Horrible Experience'
ORECK from his bed in an emergency ward at Colorado General Hospital, said the crash was "a horrible, horrible experience."
He suffered from shock but otherwise did not appear to be hurt seriously.
ORECK pleaded with doctors and nurses to "please call my wife, let her know I'm alive." ORECK said he boared[sic] the plane at Omaha and was schedulec to transfer at Denver to a San Francisco bound airliner.
Less than an hour after the crash a total of 11 injured had been taken to Colorado General.
Injuries apparently ranged from second degree burns to fractures, cuts and bruises. All the injured were treated for shock.
One survivor, JOHN BYRNE, of Omaha, said the captain of the plane notified the passengers about 10 minutes before the ill-fated landed that the plane had lost its hydraulic fluid. BYRNE added that the captain urged the passengers not to be disturbed at the sight of "a lot of fire engines" below.
BYRNE said the passengers reacted calmly.
When the plane touched down, BYRNE said, the hydraulic system apparently failed to operate.
Reporters said 17 bodies had been brought to an emergency morgue set up in the gymnasium of a junior high school not far from Stapleton Field.
CHARLES WILSON, who works for an insurance firm near the airport, said "I heard an explosion, or what may have been two explosions, right together."
"First there was this white, like dust," WILSON said. "Then there was a cloud of black smoke, a great, billowing cloud. I ran over and the plane was burning."
"It wasn't smashed up much, but it was turned around, pointing in the opposite direction from its landing approach."
MRS. HARRY PRINGLE, a housewife living near the field, said she too heard a loud explosion and from her window saw the huge plane afire.
A worker at a nearby aviation firm said when he looked out at the runway, "this thing had slewed right around on the runway and burst into flame."

Investigation Crew Sent to Air Crash Scene.
Washington (AP) -- The Civil Aeronautics Board has sent eight men to Denver to investigate the crash there today of a United Air Lines DC8 jet transport.
A CAB spokesman said the CAB is in complete charge of the investigation.

Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1961-07-11



Denver (AP) -- Federal Investigators rummaged through the torn skeleton of a United Air Lines DC8 jetliner Wed. to learn the exact cause of Tuesday's crash landing and fire in which 17 persons died.
The huge plane en route to Los Angeles from Philadelphia touched the runway, veered sideways and burst into flames.
Of the 122 aboard, 18 persons escaped injure in the holocaust. Fifty others went to Denver hospitals. The other 56 aboard, including the crew of 7, escaped serious injury.
Doctor's Family Killed.
Four of the dead were members of the family of DR. EARL GUYER, clinical psychologist at the U. S. Veterans Hospital at Fort Lyons, Colo. His wife and three small daughters died, GUYER had come to Denver to meet them at the airport.
A civil engineer, HENRY BLOM, 52, driving a survey truck for the city, was killed when the big plane swerved off the runway and crushed the truck.
In addition to BLOM, 16 plane passengers died. They included five men, seven women and four children.
Flight 859.
The plane, on Flight 859, had earlier made stops in Chicago and Omaha.
Passengers said they were alerted by the pilot, Capt. JOHN GROSSO, of Denver, 10 minutes before the crash that something was the matter with the hydraulics system, an important element in the brakes.
Hit Concrete Taxiway.
Tjere was a strange mixture of quiet calm and anguished desperation when the plane touched the runway, then skidded off, crossed 100 yards of field and burst into huge billows of flame when the landing gear crumpled on the protruding strip of a concrete taxiway being constructed nearby.
JOHN BRYNE of Omaha, a surviving passenger, escaped from the jetliner unaware that anyone had been hurt. But LYLE ORECK, 66, Phoenix, Ariz., said it was "horrible, horrible."
Stewardess Praised.
BRYNE said a stewardess sitting slongside him got the door open immediately and helped passengers escape. SALLY WHIPPLE, 47, La Jolla, Calif., also praised an unidentified stewardess.
"I don't know who she was," MRS. WHIPPLE said, "but she stayed in the plane pushing passengers down the escape chute and ignoring the fire in her clothing."
Mechanic Helped Injured.
JOE THROSKY, a UAL mechanic, was among the first to reach the burning plane. Passengers said he saved several lives as he ran into the flame, helping the injured out.
A vice president of Stanley Aviation Corp, of Denver, J. L. RYAN, said, "I just happened to look out of the personnel office when I saw the plane come in. Either it lost part of its right landing gear or blew its right tires."
"It hit the runway and did, a 180-degree turn. Dirt rose at least 70 feet high, then I saw flames soar above the dirt."
Dead in Denver Air Crash Listed.
Denver (AP) -- These were the dead in Tuesday's crash of a United Air Lines DC8 jet at Stapleton Airfield:
JASON GALE, 10, of Torrance, Calif.
Warrant Officer GEORGE OAKE, Thule Air Force Base, Greenland, en route to Ent. AFB, Colorado Springs.
EARL LINNE, 28, Harvey Lane, Malvern, Pa.
JILL GUYER, 1, Fort Lyons, Colo.
ANN GUYER, 4, Fort Lyons, Colo.
CYNTHIA GUYER, 8, Fort Lyons.
GEORGE HAMBRECHT, 28, Willow Grove, Pa.
HENRY C. BLOM, Denver, a city engineer whose truck was hit by the plane.
MRS. EARL GUYER, Fort Lyons.
BERNITA MARPLE, about 24, Berkeley, Calif.
SUSAN McDONALD, Salt Lake City.
LEONARD McDONALD, Chugwater, Wyo.
RUTH A. PIERCE, Shenandoah, Iowa.
MRS. DAISY D. SHEPHERD, 77, Davenport, Iowa.
MRS. KATHRYN TOBIN (no address).
MRS. REGINA VOGEL, Oakland, Calif.
DR. E. A. WILLIAMS, physics professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1961-07-12


Denver DC-8 crash

This accident actually occurred on July 11th at 11:36 MST. Source is Aviation Safety Network.

Following departure from Omaha, hydraulic difficulties were experienced. The flight continued to Denver, using flight manual procedures. Upon arrival near Denver, the ejectors were extended hydraulically, but the hydraulic pressure dropped to zero when an attempt was made to extend flaps to 25 degrees. The hydraulic system selector was then placed in the no. 3 position (flap and gear downlock) and the approach was continued. After touchdown the throttles were placed in the idle reverse thrust position and power was applied. An uncontrollable deviation from the runway occurred and the aircraft crashed into a new taxiway construction. The undercarriage was torn off and the DC-8 caught fire and burned.

1961 United Airlines crash at Stapleton

My mother was taking myself and 2 friends to the dump right to the north of the runway to "look for frogs".
I remember the jet flying right over our car as we passed below.
I've never heard about the woman looking for her purse blocking the aisle. You must have had close connections to have been privy to this information. That makes it even more sad.

DC 8 Crash at Stapleton Field, Denver, CO

I saw the crash as the aircraft was landing on runwy 26 left. The landing was normal to the point when the thrust reversers were deployed, the aircraft veered right and smoke from the tires on left main landing gear indicated the problem was on the starboard side of the plane. There was construction being done on runway 26 right and considerable excavation exposed the concretes full thickness. The aircraft skidded into the 26 right "concrete wall" , the landing gear collapsed and the engines folded under the wings instead of going over the wing as designed. Fire followed.
As to the flight attendents all but one appeared to do their job on evacuating passengers. The one should have gotten a medal for "track", as she left the burning aircraft and ran a considerable distance, stopped and stayed.
The findings on Probable Cause, indicated that the UAL CoPilot, First Officer Putts, initiated BOTH STARBOARD thrust reversers instead of the reversers on the stbd AND port sides. Loss of life (there were no deaths due to burns) was due to "smoke inhalation" the result of a passengers blockage of the aisle while "looking for her purse".