Limaburg, KY Private Plane And Airliner Collide, Jan 1955

Castleton DC3 wreckage 1955.jpg TWA Martin 202 Collision 1955.jpg OHIO PLANE CRASH 1-12-1955.jpg


Cincinnati, Ohio (UP) -- A Trans-World Airlines plane and a privately owned DC-3 aircraft collided in flight and crashed in flames near here today killing 15 persons.
TWA officials said that 13 persons, 10 passengers and three crew members, were aboard its twin-engined Martin 202. The plane had left the Greater Cincinnati Airport about 9 a.m. (EST) enroute to Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio.
The twin-engined DC-3 was owned by Castleton Farms, famous Lexington, Ky., harness horse farm. It was enroute from Battle Creek, Mich., to pick up the farm owners, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Van Lennep to take the socially prominent couple to Florida. The pilot ARTHUR WERKHAVEN, and co-pilot EDDIE AGNER were killed.
Kentucky State Police Detective Robert Gordon, one of the first officers to the scene, said, "It looks like everybody is dead."
A witness said the impact of the crash "shook every house" in Limaburg, Ky., the community nearest the tragedy.
There was no immediate explanation of what caused the collision.
In New York, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said an unofficial report from the Greater Cincinnati Airport was that the TWA plane took off at 9:02 a.m. (EST) and was in radio contact with the airport tower by radio two minutes later.
The CAA said the TWA pilot identified the plane, then sounded as if he were alarmed. Then his voice faded away.
The CAA said the radio operators and the CAA control center at the airport had no information on the private plane being in the area and that no other planes were sighted or known to be in the vicinity.
Gordon said the planes apparently caught fire after the collision and were aflame when they hit the ground, about a mile apart. He said parts of the planes and bodies were scattered over a wide area.
The collision occurred about two miles south of the Greater Cincinnati Airport, which is in Kentucky about 12 miles from Cincinnati. It is a rural hilly area, selected to escape the Ohio River fog which frequently closed the Lunken Airport in Cincinnati.
Howard Crigler, owner of the farm on which the planes crashed, said that the TWA lane hit the top of a hill and bounced into a wooded ravine, leaving a hundred-yard trail of wreckage.
Wreckage of the Castleton Farm plane hit about a mile from the TWA plane.
A TWA spokesman said it was the first fatal accident on TWA's domestic service since Dec. 3, 1944.
During the 10 year period the company has carried approximately 17,600,000 passengers on its domestic system.
Van Lennep and his wife, the former Mrs. Francis Dodge, operate Castleton Farms and are associated with a number of other business enterprises. He is president of Wolverine Raceway, a harness racing track at Detroit.
TWA confirmed that the 10 passengers and three crew members aboard its plane, a Martin 202, were killed. The plane was under the command of Capt. J. W. QUINN. The first officer was identified as E. CHILDRESS and the hostess at PAT STERMER.
Castleton Farm said that its plane normally was based at Sturgis, Mich.
Crigler said he heard the planes collide and rushed out to watch them fall on his farm.
"I ran out and saw pieces of the ship still in the air," Crigler said. "I got back to the field in about six minutes and saw six bodies. Parts of others were scattered around."
Mrs. J. B. Brothers, a store-keeper in Limaburg, the community nearest the crash, said "every house in the town was shaken by the explosion."
Arthur Eilerman, owner of radio station WZIP in nearby Covington, Ky., said he visited the crash scene and that all aboard the TWA plane were killed. He said wreckage of the second plane was about a mile from the TWA plane.
A telephone company workman at Hebron, Ky., just south of the airport, was the first to report the accident. He said, "I heard an explosion. Then there were two clouds of smoke."
He said the smoke columns arose from the vicinity of Limaburg and Crisler's, a place near Hebron.
The manager of the airport said that search for the planes was hampered by icy roads leading to the area. Small private planes went out to look for the wreckage.
State police, sheriff's deputies, and volunteers rushed to the scene.
Booth and St. Elizabeth hospitals in Covington, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, were alerted to receive crash victims.

Charleston Daily Mail West Virginia 1955-01-12

Casualties aboard TWA Flight 694:
Captain J. W. QUINN, pilot, Belleville, Mich.
First Officer ROBERT K. CHILDRESS, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Hostess PATRICIA A. STERMER, 21, Ypsilanti, Mich.
JOHN L. HAGUE, 40, Cincinnati, Ohio.
JACK (JOHN) A. ZINT, 31, Ft. Thomas, Ky.
RALPH Z. EMIG, 54, Cincinnati, Ohio.
ROBERT SOBUL, Columbus, Ohio.
HARRY C. REINWALD, Chicago, Illinois.
JOSEPH COHN, Cleveland, Ohio.
STANLEY WHARTON, Ottawa, Canada.
R. H. LELER, Highland Park, Illinois.
H. ROONEY, Lewiston, Idaho.
CLARENCE W. NEU, JR., 42, Mariemont, Ohio.

Casualties aboard the Private DC-3
Pilot ARTHUR "SLIM" WERKHAVEN, Sturgis, Mich.
Co-pilot EDWARD AGNER, Battle Creek, Mich.