Fredericksburg, PA Airplane Crash, Apr 1936


Quintet of Army Fliers Burned to Death as Bomber Hits Mountain in Rain Storm, Bursts Into Flames

Fredricksburg, Pa., April 6,--AP-- In a tangled mass of wreckage--the remains of a once-trim bombing plane-- the army today found the charred bodies of five flying soldiers, missing for hours on their return from a week-end hop to Cleveland.

A storm caught the big twin-motored ship as it took off from Pottstown on the last leg of its trip back to Langley Field, Va., last night, buffeted it far off its course and smashed it against the heavily timbered Blue Mountains, killing its entire crew.

Flames Consumed Ship

Flames burst from the bomber as it crashed, and kept would-be rescuers from any attempts to save the trapped pilot and his flying companions.

At Langley Field today, the names of the victims were given as:
PRYT. ARTHUR METZ, Route 8, Chambersburg, Pa.
PRYT. WILLIAM YOST, 52 Fraser avenue, McKees Rock, Pa.
CADET PAUL AMSPAUGH, 6801 Euclid avenue, Cleveland, O.

The bodies, charred beyond recognition, were taken from the wreck soon after dawn and placed in an ambulance for a trip through a driving rainstorm to an undertaking parlor in Lebanon. A military and police guard was thrown around the wreck until the salvage crews arrived from the U. S. Army Air depot at Middletown.

The flyers were not only beset by rains and storm, but seemed to have been flying blindly through a thick fog, for the craft sheared a 100-foot wide path through the tree-tops before plunging its nose into the side of the steep mountain, 250 feet from its peak.

Plane Bounced About
The rough weather apparently had tossed the heavy plane about as easily as if it were a feather. It was almost 50 miles off its course. Leaving Pottstown on what ordinarily is an hours flight due south to Langley Field, the flame-swept bomber was found 50 miles to the west of its flying route, a few miles north of here, near the Berks-Lebanon county line in east-central Pennsylvania.

The five soldiers had started out from Langley Field Saturday, stopping at Pottstown to let ENDY out for he lived nearby. The other four then continued on to Cleveland. They landed at Pottstown again last evening to pick up ENDY on the way back, and then took off in a rainstorm.

The Daily Times-News, Burlington, NC 6 Apr 1936