New Salem, ND Private Plane Crash, Dec 1973


New Salem, N.D. (AP) -- A prospective Christmas vacation at a new home in Arizona ended in tragedy Christmas Eve when six members of a Winnipeg family died in the crash of their light plane.
The victims of the crash were identified as EMERSON PARTRIDGE, 45, his wife, JEAN, 43, and their four children, DENNIS, 16, BRENT, 13, RANDY, 12, and CINDY, age 9.
The family died when their twin-engine Beechcraft slammed to earth near New Salem, about 30 miles west of Bismarck.
PARTRIDGE'S brother said in Winnipeg Christmas night, that his brother was flying his family to Hayden, Ariz., a small town near Phoenix. PARTRIDGE had started a new business in Hayden within the last two years.
"He wanted to take them there and show them what nice country it is," said his brother. "He had been traveling back and forth to Winnipeg about every six weeks."
It would have been the family's first visit to the area.
The plane PARTRIDGE was flying was registered to JACK WOOD, Pembina, N.D., said Morton County Sheriff ED WIGENBACH.
The small aircraft crashed about 15 minutes after it had taken off from Bismarck. Federal Aviation Administration officials said PARTRIDGE had stopped briefly in the North Dakota Capitol after a flight from Winnipeg.
FAA officials are investigating the cause of the crash.
The FAA said PARTRIDGE was headed for his next stop at Casper, Wyo., when the crash occurred on the farm of VICTOR BORCHELT.
BORCHELT, who was snowmobiling in yard at his farm home with his children, said they saw the low flying plane come over a hill and heard the crash. All occupants of the plane were dead when they arrived at the scene.
WIGENBACH said there was no fire but the plane
"skidded about 200 feet and was pretty much disintegrated."
Although one resident said there was some fog in the area, the FAA said weather in the region was well above minimum standards.

Huron Daily Plainsman South Dakota 1973-12-26