Minneapolis, MN Plane Crashes Into Homes, Mar 1950




Minneapolis -- (AP) -- A Northwest Airlines plane crashed into three south side homes Tuesday night after one of its wings had struck a flag pole towering over graves in the Fort Snelling national cemetery.
Fifteen persons were killed in the crash and in the fire that followed. Ten of them were passengers. Three were crew members. Two were children whose parents had just tucked them into bed in an upstairs bedroom of one of the homes struck by the plunging plane. Their home caught fire immediately.
The Martin 202 was trying for an instrument landing during a blinding, howling snowstorm. It made one futile effort, missing the instrument pattern.
It was established Wednesday that the plane's left wing struck the heavy, steel flagpole, Northwest Airlines operations officials said. A small piece of the front spar of the wing was found nearby. The cemetery is at the south end of the airport.
Flames from the exploding plane lighted a scene of horror.
Neighbors rushed a ladder to the blazing home of MR. and MRS. FRANKLIN DOUGHTY in an effort to rescue two children trapped in their bedroom. Fire drove back the rescuers, however, and the children, TOMMY, eight, and JANET, 10, perished.
Save Babies, Mother Cries.
"My babies, my babies," sobbed MRS. DOUGHTY, who was lying bleeding in the snow from an arm injury. "I had just kissed them goodnight. Please save them somebody."
Witnesses said DOUGHTY was standing barefoot in his backyard crying for help for the children.
Another of the DOUGHTY children, DIANE, was found outside. She was led to a neighbor's home.
Shafts of flame fired the neighboring homes of MRS. ROBERT CAHN and IRVING LUGER. Occupants of the houses fled to safety.
HOWARD CAHN, 27, studying in a second story room, said, "I heard a scraping noise and then a ball of flame burst into the room. I jumped over it to get out the door."
The flight originated at Washington, D. C. The plane stopped at Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit and Madison, Wis. Heavy weather prevented a landing at Rochester, Minn. It was scheduled to proceed to Winnipeg, Manitoba, via Fargo and Grand Forks, N. D.
(One of the passengers, MRS. HOMER HOLT, Holmesville, O., was on her way to visit Whitehall and Black River Falls on a surprise trip, her relatives learned Wednesday morning.)
The plane, a Martin 2-0-2 Mars, was trying for an instrument landing here in gusty winds and swirling snow.
May Have Struck Pole.
Shafts of flame spewed immediately from the shattered airliner to fire the neighboring homes of MRS. ROBERT CAHN and IRVING LUGER. Occupants of these two houses, forewarned by the cannon-like explosion, of the crash, fled to safety. Both houses were heavily damaged.
JANET DOUGHTY, 10, and her eight-year-old brother, TOMMY, were engulfed by the first rapid sheets of searing fire.
MR. and MRS. DOUGHTY and another daughter, DIANE, 15, were hospitallized, suffering from burns, shock, cuts and bruises. Their condition was reported fair.
Crew members who perished were:
Capt. DONALD JONES, Minneapolis, the pilot.
WILLIAM McGINN, South St. Paul, Minn., the co-pilot.
Stewardess MARY ALICE KENNEDY, St. Paul.
The passenger list included:
B. EBERHARDT, a parts executive for the Ford Motor Co., who boarded the plane at Detroit, bound for Fargo, N. D.
EMERY F. OLIVER, manager of the J. C. Penney store at Madison, Wis., and former regional officer of Kiwanis.
MRS. HOMER HOTT, Holmesville, Ohio, formerly of Black River Falls.
DR. JOSEPH V. BREITWIESER, 65, dean of the graduate school at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
MISS MATILDA DE BECK, 62, Arlington, Va.
W. LAMPERT, New York City (no address).
C. H. PAFFORD, identified only as a national representative of Sigma Chi Epsilon fraternity, boarded at Madison.
R. C. BUHMANN, Chicago. (No address).
C. M. LOHN, Minneapolis.
REYNOLD MALMQUIST, Minneapolis fire chief, said "identification of the victims will be all but impossible from what we find in the wreckage." He reported the scorching heat from the 100 octane gasoline reduced "everything but heavy metal parts of the plane and the house's foundation stones into fine ashes."
(MRS. HOTT, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Ole Overilen, was born in Black River Falls, where she lived before her marriage. For a time she was employed at Black River Falls as a stenographer.)
(It is believed that MRS. HOTT boarded the airplane at Madison, planning to fly to Minneapolis. The only relative she had informed of the surprise visit was a sister, MRS. CHARLES SCHARF, Mondovi, who was to meet her in Minneapolis Wednesday morning.)
(MRS. SCHARF was informed of the tragedy Wednesday by a cousin, MRS. E. E. LUNDQUIST of Minneapolis, and she in turn called a sister, MRS. REUBEN MAGNUSON, Whitehall.)
(Among the relatives MRS. HOTT had planned to visit were three brothers and a sister in Black River Falls, ARTHUR, NORMAN and GLEN OVERLIEN, and MRS. FLOYD KERSTING. Another sister, MRS. JACK MOONEY, makes her home at Janesville.)
(Relatives were unable to locate MRS. HOTT'S husband immediately. Other survivors include a daughter, DEE ANN, eight.)

LaCrosse Tribune Wisconsin 1950-03-08