New Orleans, LA Plane Crashes And Burns On Landing, Mar 1969



New Orleans (AP) -- A chartered plane carrying a group of Tennessee sportsmen crashed and burned while landing in a heavy fog this morning at New Orleans International Airport and one report said 19 men were killed.
Fire Chief WILLIAM MANCUSO of Kenner, who set up a temporary morgue at the airport, said there were 19 bodies visible in the wreckage.
Earlier, however, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish sheriff's office said there were 24 persons aboard the DC3 and state police reported 11 survivors.
The survivors -- including a judge, assistant public defender and two dentists -- were rushed to Ochsner Foundation Hospital. None of the survivors were listed in serious condition and only three were admitted to the hospital.
The plane, owned by the Avion Corporation of Houston, Texas, had been chartered by the West Tennessee Sportsmen's Association.
The hospital said those treated included General Sessions Judge WILL DORAN; HUGH STANTON, JR., former state senator and assistant public defender; and DR. JACK BROOKS and DR. KENNETH C. CALDWELL, dentists.
"A doctor said he counted 10 bodies in sight in the plane," said JAY CHARRIER a lineman for the General Aviation Corp. "Myself, I saw about three bodies."
Authorities said the plane came from Memphis and was headed for Belize, British Honduras. It was landing here to refuel and go through customs.
The plane crashed at 7:02 a.m. on the east-west runway. The crash left a gaping hole in the fuselage, and propellers and other parts were scattered across the runway for 1,000 yards.
CHARRIER said he was alerted by the control tower to rush to the crash scene and to take another man with him "because we might get lost in the fog."
"I saw fire just in the front part of the plane," CHARRIER said. "Just a wing and part of the fuselage were left."
"When I went out there I saw a young man walking around in a daze. I also saw some persons bent over others, apparently trying to give first aid. Some were bleeding from their heads and arms. Most of them were in a daze."
Others among the 11 reported hospitalized were identified as:
"We went out there and at first, because it was so foggy we didn't see anything," said EARL WILLIAMS, the other General Aviation lineman. "We looked around some more and then saw flames through the fog."
Calls Wife.
One of the survivors, BILLY JOE SPENCER, who operates a riding academy in Memphis, called his wife from the hospital after the crash.
"He was not seriously hurt and expects to be released from the hospital today," MRS. SPENCER said.
"He said the plane tried to land in heavy fog, that it came in at an angle. The pilot tried to correct it but couldn't and one of the wings came off. My husband got out through a small hole in the side of the plane. He said if he had weighted 10 pounds more, he wouldn't have been able to get out."
WINFORD SMITH, another of the survivors, said the plane descended through the heavy fog, hit the airport runway hard, then turned sideways, broke open and caught fire.
The pilot of the plane was listed as A. R. TENNYSON of Memphis.
"Normal" Approach.
"He was making a normal instrument approach to the runway when something happened to him, but we haven't been able to determine what," an agent in the control tower said.
PAUL STOULIG, deputy director of the New Orelans Aviation Board, said the plane had contact with the tower but contact was lost before the crash and the tower could not locate the plane.

The Corpus Christi Times Texas 1969-03-20
(Transcriber's Note: There were 24 passengers and 3 crew members on board the plane. Eleven passengers and the 3 crew members were killed in the crash.)