Chicago, IL Airliner Crashes On Takeoff, Mar 1948




Chicago, March 11 -- (AP) -- A Delta airlines DC-4 plane crashed and burned explosively late last night a few seconds after it took off from Chicago's Muinicipal airport. Twelve of 13 aboard were killed.
The only survivor was a 33-year-old mother whose seven-year-old son perished in the fiery wreckage. She screamed hysterically for her child as she was pulled from the flames.
The woman, MRS. TRIPOLINO MEO, of suburban Oak Lawn, Ill., suffered severe burns. Both of her legs and both of her arms were broken.
All four members of the crew were killed. The plane was bound for Miami, Fla. It splashed into an orange-colored, flaming mass on a nearby prairie at 10:58 p. m. (CST) from a height of 500 to 1,000 feet, during a snow flurry, witnesses said.
It was Delta's first accident in scheduled operations since 1934. Last year the airlines received a special citation from the National Safety Council.
"Something went wrong" and the huge craft caught fire when only a few feet above the runway, Delta's district traffic manager said. There was no further explanation.
Two Brothers Among Victims.
Among the identified dead were two Chicago brothers on their way to the bedside of their father, near death in Miami Beach, Fla. The two were HAROLD LEVY, 47, prominent Criminal lawyer, and RALPH RAYMON LEVY, 41, an insurance broker.
The plane had a capacity of 44 passengers. At least two persons who had reservations for the flight, No. 705 with stops at Cincinnati, Ohio, and Jacksonville, Fla., cancelled them shortly before it took off.
The plane burned fiercely for more than an hour. Some of the bodies pulled out by firemen were burned or mangled beyond immediate recognition.
PAT SMITH, an airport cargo handler, said the plane "came straight down in a vertical dive and splattered and explosed on the ground," near 55th street and Cicero avenue.
Flames Shoot Up 50 Feet.
Flames shot up 50 feet as the plane flopped to earth "like a pancake," said another witness, C. K. FIRTH, a gasoline dealer who helped rescue MRS. MEO.
Relatives said MRS. MEO, wife of a restaurant owner, was on her way to Miami, Fla., for her health.
MRS. MEO'S son's body was found clutched in the arms of another woman. Both bodies were badly burned.
An inquest was scheduled for 10:30 a. m., Friday. Coroner A. L. BRODIE said a "blue ribbon" jury of aviation specialists would be summoned.
The crew members were Capt. GROVER LEE HOLLOWAY, 35, College Park, Ga., the pilot; JOHN S. DISOWAY, 25, Atlanta, Ga. and Hollywood, Fla., first officer; MISS SUE YOUNG, 26, Fayetteville, N. C., stewardess; and MARVIN G. HARISTON, 21, Avondale Estates, Ga., purser.
Among the passengers killed was DR. G. E. GARVIN, 42, physician of Blanchester, O. He was enroute to Cincinnati from San Francisco.
Another victim was MRS. CECELIA RICHARDS, 35, of Cincinnati, O. She was returning home after visiting her son DENNIS, 17, at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, north of Chicago.
Persuaded Wife To Remain.
HAROLD I. LEVY talked his wife out of going with him to Miami.
MRS. RUTH LEVY went to the municipal airport with her husband and his brother. She told police that her husband had a "premonition" and "didn't wwant two members of the same family to make the trip."
The LEVY brothers embarked on the flight to visit their father, former U. S. Marshal in Chicago, who is critically ill in Miami. Earlier, a mistrial had been declared in a murder trial to permit HAROLD to make the trip. He was counsel for one of the defendants.
MRS. LEVY turned to watch the plane head toward the runway. Then she left. It crashed soon after the takeoff.

Occupants Identified.
Chicago, March 11 -- (AP) -- Passengers and crew members aboard the Delta Airlines plane which crashed here last night were identified by the airlines and police as follows:
DAN J. COURTNEY, 42, Appleton, Wis.
MRS. C. RICHARDS, Cincinnati, O.
ALBERT F. KAHLE (or KAULE) Cincinnati, employed by the Continental Machinery Co., Cincinnati.
FRED WILKINS, 36, Oak Lawn, Ill., enroute to Miami to pick up an automobile for his employer. (Body identified by brother).
RALPH RAYMOND LEVY, 31, an insurance broker, enroute to Miami to visit critically ill father.
ALBERT H. MEO, JR., 7, Chicago.
DR. C. E. GARVIN, Bianchester, O., a transfer passenger from a United Air Lines flight from San Francisco.
HAROLD LEVY, 47, prominent Chicago criminal lawyer, enroute with his brother RALPH to bedside of father in Miami.
The crew:
Capt. GROVER LEE HOLLOWAY, 36, College Park, Ga., the pilot.
First Officer JOHN S. DISSOWAY, 25, Atlanta, Ga., and Hollywood, Fla., co-pilot.
MISS SUE YOUNG, 26, Fayetteville, N. C., stewardess.
MARVIN G. HAIRSTON, 21, purser, Avondale Estates, Ga.
MRS. TRIPOLINO MEO, 33, who suffered fractures of both legs and extensive burns over her entire body, was the only survivor.
At the hospital she kept crying for "my baby." "Baby" was ALBERT, JR., whose body was taken to the county morgue.

Dixon Evening Telegraph Illinois 1948-03-11