Buttermilk Hollow, PA Plane Crash, Sep 1936
PLANE BIER YIELDS TEN.
BODIES OF AIR JOYRIDE VICTIMS ARE BURNED BEYOND RECOGNITION.
Pittsburgh, Sept. 6. -- (AP) -- Charred and tangled wreckage of a "joy-hopping" airplane yielded the body of the tenth victim of a crash and roaring flames in isolated Buttermilk Hollow today.
A gay party of sightseers boarded the ship last night, promised by operators:
"A thrill or your money back."
They had hoped to soar over the rugged hills and valleys surrounding the Allegheny county airport, look down on the brilliant lights of the county fair.
Pilot Clutches Wheel.
They rode only a mile or two -- died on the crest of a little knoll near a peach orchard in the hollow.
Only the framework of the big ship remained, twisted and tangled by the flames.
All the bodies were burned beyond recognition.
The pilot died clutching the wheel of his ship, his charred body slumped in his seat.
Only one of the party survived -- LINDA McDONALD of Miami, Fla., too ill from shock to talk of the crash.
Before going to a hospital the 17-year-old high school graduate who planned to enter college this fall, said:
"There were six in our party and we weren't particularly anxious about going up."
"But the man in the plane -- he was from Miami, too -- promised us a thrill or our money back."
MISS McDONALD told, too, of trying in vain to pull her escort, JOHN A. POWERS, 19, of Miami, from his seat in the ship and attempting to arouse other passengers before clambering from the wrecked plane and escaping the flames.
Airport attaches listed the victims as:
JOHN A. POWERS, of Miami, Fla., Linda's escort.
RUTH ROLLINGER, 16, of Pittsburgh.
MARCIA DENNISON, 16, of Pittsburgh.
PHELAN McSHANE, 19, of Pittsburgh.
WILLIAM LEAHY, of Pittsburgh.
BRADLEY WELFER, of Pittsburgh.
ANDREW WIBMER, Munhall, Pa.
MRS. BLANCHE WIBMER, Munhall, Pa.
ERIC BECKLEY, 36-year-old pilot, Hazelwood, Pa.
MRS. RUTH SLITTEREN, Utica, N.Y., sister-in-law of the pilot.
Airport attaches said there was doubt whether the pilot, ERIC and his nine passengers died from the crash or the flames.
Col. J. Carroll Cone, assistant director of the bureau of aeronautics, department of commerce, came from Washington today to conduct an inquiry. He will work with the Allegheny county coroner's office and airport officials in an effort to determine what caused the ship to swerve suddenly from its accustomed, circular course about the airport and plunge to the ground.
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