Atlanta, GA Chartered Plane Crashes, May 1970


Atlanta, Ga. (AP) -- A crippled chartered airliner, carrying prospective real estate buyers to Florida, crashed into a car on a busy highway Saturday while trying to make an emergency landing in rain and fog. Six were killed, including five persons in the car, and more than 30 were injured.
Most of the passengers aboard the twin-engine plane, were from the Atlanta area. They were bound for a weekend in Florida, sponsored by the Lehigh Acres Development Inc. There were 34 persons aboard the plane.
The propeller-driven plane, a Martin 404, had taken off moments before from the Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, several miles across town, headed for Fort Myers, Fla.
It lost power in an engine as it left the airport in rain and a low ceiling and its pilot was directed to come into the big Atlanta Airport.
But the pilot, JAMES CANNIN, flying low for miles, apparently attempted a pancake landing on the highway that sweeps around the city.
The plane, grazed one car and then flattened another on Interstate 285, killing four members of one family on their wa home from a grocery shopping trip.
DeKalb County Police Chief Dick Hand said witnesses told him the low-flying plane went under a high voltage power line approximately 150 feet above the highway, then narrowly managed to clear another overpass before touching the pavement.
"They said the plane struck the car almost at the exact moment it touched down," he said.
The plane dragged the car nearly 400 yards. Then, Hand quoted witnesses as saying, the plane "careened down the highway, spun in a half circle and skidded backwards" into a second overpass.
Hand said the impact sheared off the left wing and tail section and jammed them under the east edge of the viaduct. The main section of the fuselage, the right wing still attached, spun in another half circle and came to rest squarely atop the overpass.
CHARLES PITTMAN, his brother EDDIE and their wives were sitting near the back of the plane but they were moved up front to balance the load.
They later decided the shift might have saved their lives. Just 15 minutes after take off, the rear seats where they had been sitting were scattered along an embankment of the interstate and people were screaming, "Oh God! Oh God!"
MRS. CHARLES PITTMAN said the flight seemed normal, "except the weather -- the plane was moving up and down, giving you a sick feeling in the stomach."
"Then we were coming down," she said. There were no instructions, no warning that we were going in. The 'no smoking' sign was still off and we were still smoking."
She said she looked out and saw treetops and cars on the highway. "I hollered up to my husband, 'CHARLES, get your head down' and the next thing I knew we were all scrambled up like eggs."
The five dead in the car were identified by police as MR. and MRS. JIM BARRON and their two sons, STEVE and BURT, and DANNY ROSHER, 7, reportedly a neighbor. Ages for members of the BARRON family were not immediately available.
The only passenger of the plane to die was MRS. DELMA MATHES of Wilson, N.C. Her husband N. R. MATHES, was among the injured.
CANNIN, the pilot, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was hurt and reported in fair condition at South Fulton Hospital. The co-pilot, ROBERT FELDMILLER of Fort Lauderdale, and Stewardess JEAN COLLINS of Miami, were also in fair condition at the same hospital.
Stewardess JILL ATWATER, also of Miami, was treated at a hospital and released.
The plane was chartered at Fort Lauderdale from the Florida AIrcraft Leasing Co.
EDDIE PITTMAN said the two stewardesses had strapped themselves in, but a notebook fell from a shelf and one got up to retrieve it. Then the plane hit the roadway."
"She went flying past me," PITTMAN said. "I reached out and tried to grab her but I couldn't." He said she apparently was thrown through the gaping hole opened when the rear of the aircraft sheared off.
Fifteen year old MARK SCHIENFELD, who was on the plane with his parents, said that when the plane stopped, people opened emergency exits and began clambering out.
"We jumped out through the hole in the back," said MARK.
"I walked out and saw some people lying on the ground...some of them couldn't get up."

The Bridgeport Post Connecticut 1970-05-31


Where is Danny buried?

Was curious about what cemetery Danny is buried at? I have created a memorial for him at and wanted to add this. I am so sorry to you and to his sister, Shannon, for your loss. I did not know Danny personally, but I remember this tragic story and it has stayed with me all these years.

Bad Fuel

A FAA investigation determined the wrong type of fuel was put into the aircraft causing the engines to stall. Condolences to all who did not survive.

Remembering Family

One great thing growing up is having an awesome childhood. Visiting Altanta and seeing our grandparents aunts uncles and cousins.. Danny, Shannon, and Jay Roescher are my cousins. Jay passed away at 17 from liver cancer I believe. I am sad in time life has made distant my connections to cousins who were a great part of my childhood. Great to see my cousin Shannon correct the details. I cherish my childhood memories with them all. Awesome to see the post from Shannon, I hope life has been good to you... You certainly are due.

1970 Plane Crash

I was the Barron's babysitter for a couple of years before this crash. The other little boy in the car was Danny Lee Roescher, my boyfriend's nephew. I was his babysitter (along with his younger brothers). That was such a sad day for everyone. The whole neighborhood knew these folks. What a shame that their lives were cut short. RIP

May 30, 1970 Plane Crash, Dekalb County, GA

That Saturday morning around 9:26 am, I was awakened by this plane flying directly over my house, it's engines making an obviously wrong kind of sound. It was eerie, such a loud, and wrong, sound overhead in the overcast sky. It was awfully low - the noise was incredible the loud mechanical sound of the engine(s) trying to operate on the wrong type of fuel.

Moments later, only 4.071 miles from my house the plane broke through the overcast, the pilot saw I-285, and really having no other option, radioed the tower, saying “We’re going down” and landed the plane on the median between the west- and east-bound lanes of the highway. It skidded in a straight line for 1,200 feet and then gradually turned the left and crossed the east-bound lanes 400 feet east of Moreland Avenue and overtook the Barron's car. It continue up an embankment on top of the car then it’s left wing struck the bridge and came to rest on Moreland perpendicular to the highway.

The father of my friend who lived across the street from me was a deputy fire chief who was on duty that morning and he worked the scene. I went by the site a few weeks later and can still remember what it looked like. I also remember how I felt when I heard the Barron family and Danny Rosher were killed by this plane, which literally fell out of the cloudy sky that morning.

The seven year old boy was

The seven year old boy was my oldest brother Danny Lee Roescher. The people in the station wagon that the plane landed on, were comming back from a birthday party. Not a trip to the grocery store.They didn't actually go to the party because the weather was so bad. They decided to turn around and come back home. Just wanted to get Danny's last name spelled right and where they were comming from. Thanks.

plane crash may 1970

The family that was killed in the car were my cousins. Pat was as good a person as you would ever know and she was a wonderful mother. A kindhearted angel was called to heaven with her family that day. I only hope that their deaths were instantaneous...that would be the only blessing in that tragedy.