Billings, MT Transport Crash, July 1938



Billings, Mont. -- (UP) -- A woman passenger was killed and two others were injured early today when an east-bound Northwest Airlines transport plane crashed three minutes after taking off from the Billings airport.
The dead woman was MRS. N. S. MacKAY, Bismarck, N.D. The injured were N. S. MacKAY, husband of the dead woman, suffering from bruises and shock, and W. J. TINDALE, Slocum, British Columbia, suffering from a minor head injury and bruises.
Pilot WALT BULLOCK and Co-Pilot L. S. DOAN and five other passengers on the plane, P. S. BRISLAWN, Wallace, Idaho; C. V. GARY, Chicago; W. C. BILLENGER, Bremerton, Wash.; MRS. W. J. TINDALE; A. L. NEIMEYER, Seattle, Wash.; and G. B. TESSUM, Billings, were not injured.
The plane, one of the line's new twin-motored Lockheed "Zephyrs" took off from the airport at 2:35 a.m. (P.S.T.) It gained an altitude of 1,000 feet and headed northeast into the wind. Then it plunged to earth.
The craft seemed to stall momentarily in mid-air then started spiraling down. The impace demolished the plane.
Although the line's officials clamped down a strict censorship it was reported MRS. MacKAY died of a head injury.
The two injured were brought to St. Vincent's Hospital here for treatment.
A. R. Mensinger, division traffic manager, was puzzled by the circumstances of the crash, indicated that the line would start an investigation immediately.
All planes of the Zephyr type were grounded by the Department of Commerce Air Bureau after a Northwest Airlines Zephyr crashed Jan. 10, 1938 in Bridger Canyon, near Bozeman, Mont., killing 10 persons aboard.
The grounding order for planes of the Zephyr type was lifted recently and the line resumed their use. During the period of suspension, the airline used planes with which it had gone 11 years without a crash.

Sandusky Star Journal Ohio 1938-07-08