Sioux City, IA Airliner Crashes At Airport, Mar 1951



Sioux City (UP) -- A Mid-Continent DC-3 airliner making its second attempt to land in a snowstorm crashed and burned at municipal airport Friday, killing 15 of the 25 persons aboard.
The plane was carrying three regular crew members, a Mid-Continent employe riding as a "dead head" passenger, and 21 regular passengers.
The Iowa Aeronautics Commission said the plane was instructed to land on runway 13, but the pilot missed the runway. The airport control tower then told the pilot to try either runway 13 or 17, but it could not be determined which runway he was aiming at on his second try.
The twin-engined ship crashed about 1,000 feet northwest of the north end of one runway.
Although the airline said there definitely were 10 survivors, only nine could be found at the two Sioux City hospitals where the injured were taken.
One, RAY ENGEL, Ipswich, S. D., was in "very critical" condition.
The pilot and co-pilot were both killed. The stewardess, MARILYN WOODBURY, Kansas City, was among the survivors.
Witnesses said some of the persons aboard the plane were thrown clear as it crashed at the northwest edge of the field about half a mile from the runway. Others, they said, apparently crawled out and some were pulled out by rescuers.
There was no screaming.
The Sioux City unit of the Iowa national air guard, recently reactivated, aided in rescue of survivors. Eleven ambulances and all Sioux City fire equipment were sent to the scene.
Fire consumed most of the twin-engined plane, enroute from Kansas City, Mo., to Minneapolis.
T. J. ALBERTSON said the pilot, JAMES H. GRAHAM, Kansas City, Mo., gave no indication of trouble in his conversation with the tower before the crash. ALBERTSON said the conversation contained "nothing unusual."
L. R. CURRY, Kansas City, Mo., one of the injured, said "it was hard to say what happened -- whether the controls were frozen or what -- but it looked as if we overshot the field."
"I was looking out a window and saw we were close to the ground with the ship at an angle."
"I could see the crash was going to come. Then I heard it."
"When I came to I was walking across the field."
CURRY was taken to St. Joseph's hospital where attendants said he had possible neck and leg fractures.
Newsmen who inspected the wreckage said the right wing was undamaged, indicating that the plane hit the ground on its left wing.
Only the right wing and tail section were left intact. The rest of the plane was smashed or gutted by the fire.
DAVE COCHRAN of Sioux Airlines, a private flying service at the municipal field about 10 miles south of here, said he saw the plane circling the field with its wheels down minutes before the crash.
"It appeared to be coming in all right," COCHRAN said. "I noticed both engines were operating."
"Then I heard a thud. I didn't see the actual crash. The plane hit about half a mile from the runway."
"It looked to me like the ground just came up too fast for the pilot. Visibility was bad."
COCHRAN said the plane was burning and people already were being taken out of the wreckage when he reached the scene.
The plane was flight No. 16, originating at Kansas City at 7:15 a.m. It was bound for Minneapolis with stops at Omaha, Sioux City, and Sioux Falls, Huron and Watertown in South Dakota.
The Mid-Continent office of Omaha said 15 passengers were aboard the plane when it landed there from Kansas City Friday morning. Six more boarded the plane at Omaha.
It was the first fatal accident in more than 16 years of Mid-Continent airlines operation.
Omaha Manager BERT BLACKSTOCK said the crash of a Mid-Continent plane at Tulsa last week, in which the pilot and co-pilot were injured, was the "first accident of any major consequence."
It was the first fatal airliner crash in Iowa aviation history. It also was the worst of any in Iowa history.

Kansas City, Mo. (UP) -- Mid-Continent airlines officials Friday released the names of 15 persons killed in the crash of a passenger plane at Sioux City.
The dead:
MRS. J. D. ALWAY, Aberdeen, S. D.
MR. and MRS. FRED KANNEGIETER, Willow Lake, S. D.
M. H. STEVENSON, Rapid City, S. D.
FRED G. KELLOGG, St. Joseph, Mo.
C. T. LOON, address unknown.
M. A. SACHAN, address unknown.
Capt. JAMES H. GRAHAM, 34, Kansas City, Mo., pilot.
PHILLIP K. TOLER, 30, Mission, Kan., co-pilot.
ERNEST FREDERICK EILERT, Overland Park, Kan., (identified eralier as a fourth member of the crew but later classified as a "dead head" passenger.)
ELDON O. CLARK, Watertown, S. D.
MRS. C. J. PADEMORE, Woonsocket, S. D.
Two unidentified military men being transferred from Camp Polk, La., to Bismarck, N. D., names withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The company listed the following 10 survivors:
MARILYN WOODBURY, 22, Kansas City, Mo., stewardess.
ROBERT TOMAN, Whitten, S. D.
ROY ENGAL, Ipswich, S. D.
B. M. QUAM, Bismarck, N. D.
E. K. CURRY, Kansas City, Mo.
Two Unidentified military men from Camp Polk, La.
ARCHIE McKELLOP, Artesian Wells, S. D.
Early reports indicated EILERT, the "dead head" passenger, who was an employe of Mid-Continent, was among the survivors, but it later was verified, officials said, that he was killed in the crash.
GRAHAM was married and the father of one daughter. TOLER also was married.
MISS WOODBURY, the hostess, was graduated from the company's hostess school in Kansas City only two weeks ago.

Sioux City (UP) -- We are member of the air national guard caretaker detachment getting ready to go on active duty April 1.
We were in the hangar when we heard a plane and went outside to look at it. It almost hit the hanger we live in.
The plane then banked to the left and disappeared to the north. About 30 seconds later we heard a thud -- it wasn't an explosion.
I scrambled into a crash truck and WEIGEL got the fire truck and we headed for the scene.
When we got there we saw the pilot and co-pilot hanging out of the cabin. We pulled them clear of the fire. They were dead as far as we knew.
We saw one man laying on the ground with the hide burned off his head. He was saying "help me."
We put some blankets on him and then put him in an ambulance.
We put another man on a stretcher and then into the air guard ambulance -- the first one on the scene -- and took them to St. Joseph hospital in Sioux City.
There was no screaming among the passengers. Most of them seem to have been thrown out holes in the side of the plane and others must have crawled out the other side of the plane.
The wreckage was pretty much in one spot.
It was snowing and the visibility was bad. The weather office said the visibility was one-half mile, but we doubt it.

Cedar Rapids Gazette Iowa 1951-03-02