Tatum, NM Bomber And Liaison Plane Collision, Oct 1955


Tatum, N.M., Oct. 3 -- (AP) -- A B-47 Stratojet bomber and an Army liaison plane collided in the air over this southeastern New Mexico oil town early today. First reports said five or six were feared dead.
Incomplete reports from sheriff's and state police radio said at least one man was dead in one plane and another injured.
The injured man, brought to Lea County General Hospital at Hobbs, was identified as 2nd Lt. WILLIAM D. BORGEN, 63rd bomber squadron, stationed near Tucson, Ariz.
Heavy rains in the area prevented early attempts to reach the wreckage of the second plane. Some 5 1/2 inches of rain had fallen at Tatum, closing schools and roads at 7:30 a.m. and was still coming down.
The wreckage lies about 16 miles west and two miles south of Tatum.
Clovis Air Force Base said the air search and rescue service had been called in to reach the isolated wreckage.
The Hobbs News-Sun said one sheriff's department radio report had warned officers to keep persons away from the "black plane with the red nose" which might be carrying radioactive material. Red nose and tail markings are sometimes used to designate planes carrying radioactive materials, but none of three New Mexico Air Force bases could confirm the plane was their's or that it was carrying a "hot" cargo.
Walker Air Force Base at Roswell said it was sending an investigation party, headed by Lt. Col. Clyde E. Camp, Jr., deputy base commander.
Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, which handles the bulk of the atomic material transported by air in the southwestern United States, said none of its planes is missing.

Oakland Tribune California 1955-10-03