Templeton, MA Planes Collide In Mid-Air, Jan 1979


Templeton, Mass. (UPI) -- Two twin-engine corporate planes "bumped" in mid-air Thursday, plummeted to the ground and exploded, killing as many as five persons.
One plane fell into a hilly wooded area in north-central Massachusetts about one-half mile from Gardner Airport and the second crashed into a frozen swamp about 400 yards from the airport runway. Only the tail of the plane which went into the swamp was showing above the ice.
State Police confirmed at least three dead and said two more persons were believed to be aboard the aircraft.
"We have a tentative list of (five) identities, but we cannot release it by law," a state police spokesman said.
He said positive identification of the victims was made difficult because both planes were "completely demolished" when they crashed and exploded.
"We don't have bodies. We just have pieces of bodies," said Sgt. WAYNE HARDING.
Rescue workers were searching the woods and swamp for remains of other victims. State aeronautics officials said one plane had the capacity to hold six people and the other could hold seven.
DAVID GRAHAM, a Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission inspector, said the collision happened during "super clear" visibility. One of the planes, a Piper Navaho, was owned by the Nash-Tamposi real estate development company of Nashua, N. H. The other plane, an Aerostar, was owned by Northeast Celluloid Co. of Boylston.
"It is pretty clear that two aircraft came together, bumped and then hit the ground. You have to assume that they just didn't see each other," GRAHAM said.
State police said they found parts of two badly burned bodies in the area where the plane hit the hill.

The Chronicle Telegram Elyria Ohio 1979-01-12