Hickory, NC Private Plane Airliner Collide, Apr 1960



Hickory, N.C. (UPI) -- A private plane collided with a Piedmont Airlines F-27 turbo-prop airliner making a visual landing approach Wednesday and crashed, killing its four occupants, after hitting the left wing of the airliner which carried 40 persons.
The airliner continued its landing approach and touched down safely, without injury to any of its 36 passengers and crew of four. The collision damaged the wing and one propeller of the airliner.
The Cessna 310, a fast, luxury twin-engined private craft, disintegrated as it plunged earthward. A wing tore off and other parts fell away in its 1,000 foot death dive.
Those killed included officials of a Grand Rapids, Mich., furniture firm and the pilot. The plane was owned by the Bergsma Bros. Furniture Co. of Grand Rapids.
The only apparent witness to the crash, NEVERT McNEELY, who operates a farm adjacent to the airport, said the Cessna 310, "just seemed to cut across in front of the airliner. It hit around the left wing of the airliner."
He said the planes were about 1,000 feet in the air and approximately 300 yards from the end of the runway.
"The airliner kept on going and landed the Cessna just dropped straight down. One wing came off and other pieces dropped off as it fell," McNEELY said.
The wreckage was scattered in a 100-yard circle on the farm of FORREST GAINES. The four bodies were found in the wrecked fuselage of the twin-engined plane.
The vicitms were identified as FREDERICK JAMES FRIESWYK, 37, piilot for Bergsma Brothers; JULIUS BERGSMA, 44, a partner in Bergsma Brothers and president of Imperial Furniture Co.; EARL GORDON KROMBEEN, executive vice president of Imperial, all of Grand Rapids, and DAVID FRANK of Beverly Hills, Calif. and Grand Rapids.
The plane left Grand Rapids on Wednesday morning on a flight to Lenoir, N.C., where the four were to visit Hamory Manufacturing Co., owned by Bergsma Brothers.
A spokesman at the Federal Aviation Agency's Charlotte air traffic communications center located near the Hickory airport said he had been in contact with the Cessna earlier but not at the time of the crash. He said the two planes were operating under visual flight rules while making their landing approaches at the Hickory airport which has no control tower.
"I didn't see it happen," the FAA spokesman said. "I don't know if they saw each other or not."

Kingsport News Tennessee 1960-04-21