Duluth, MN Bomber Crashes During Landing, Dec 1957


Duluth, Minn., Dec. 13. -- (AP) -- An Air Force B-47 bomber, crippled by loss of power in three of its six jet engines, crashed and exploded in an attempted emergency landing at the Duluth Air Base today. All three crewmen were killed.
Flames shot more than 100 feet in the air as fuel ignited after the bomber came down a quarter of a mile from an air National Guard hanger a few minutes after 12 noon CST.
The victims were identified by the Lincoln, Neb., Air Base as:
Maj. WILLIAM F. GARDNER, 37, Fresno, Calif.
Capt. BYRON H. BLACKMORE, 35, navigator, Grand Forks, N.D.
Capt. WILLIAM A. BALDWIN, 37, pilot, St. Louis, Mo.
They were members of the base's 343rd bomber squadron on a routine
"round-robin" flight that was scheduled as a non-stop trip.
The pilot radioed the control tower here that three of the plane's engines were out. He said he would try to "pancake," the Air Force's term for an emergency landing.
Emergency and firefighting crews stood by as the big plane came in low out of the southwest.
Suddenly it veered at an altitude of about 200 feet and a wing dipped sharply.
The bomber struck a road shoulder in snow-covered brushland near the field, gouged a huge hole in the road surface and caromed back into the air.
As it came down it plowed a path through dense underbrush in a sliding crash. It burst into flame and was broken apart by a series of explosions, apparently from fuel tanks igniting. The plane was not armed.
Rescue crews pulled the bodies from the burning wreckage after it was safe for them to go near.

Bridgeport Telegram Connecticut 1957-12-14