Chestertown, MD Navy Plane Crashes, July 1953



Chestertown, Md. (AP) -- Bits of wreckage scattered about a farm field near here were examined today by a board of inquiry trying to determine what caused a big, four-engine Navy plane to crash in flames yesterday, killing its six-man crew.
The ship, a Super Constellation transport, plunged to earth after leaving the Patuxent, Md., Naval Air Test Center on a routine flight.
At least a dozen persons told of seeing it circle shortly before the crash about nine miles south of Chestertown, across Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore.
Five eyewitnesses were workers who miraculously escaped serious injury as the plane crashed 20 feet from where they were building a house. They said its engines sputtered shortly before the ship caught fire in mid-air and lost its tail and left wing on the way down.
Firemen from Chestertown and other nearby communities brought the flames under control about half an hour later.
The body of Lt. Cmdr. ROBERT EARL TERRIS, 39, of Battle Creek, Mich., was thrown clear as the plane struck.
The Navy identified the five other victims as:
Lt. Cmdr. HAROLD LETTVIN, 37, Venice, Calif.
Lt. Cmdr. WELBY KNOWLES WILLIAMS, 33, Wolf City, Tex.
Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate EDWARD CLARK SAXO, 35, of Riverside, L. I., N.Y.
Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate GERALD JOSEPH LAWLER, 31, Sioux City, Ia.
Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate LEWIS PATRICK FOX, 32, Los Angeles.
The Navy said all six were married. They had been living on or near the Patuxent base with their wives and a total of 14 children.

The Progress-Index Petersburg Virginia 1953-07-08