Freidens, PA Private Plane Crash, Sep 1974


Freidens -- A 36-year-old Jennerstown woman was killed Sunday when the airplane she was piloting crashed in a ravine 1 1/2 miles northeast of here.
The victim, MRS. KATHRYN H. HIGGINS, president of Air Hearse Inc. of Jennerstown, had died apparently instantly in the crash, which tore the aircraft apart.
The accident took place at approximately 9 p.m. The wreckage was found by searchers at 6:40 a.m. yesterday.
MRS. HIGGINS was reported to have requested weather information from the Johnstown-Cambria County Municipal Airport 10 minutes before her arrival at the Somerset County Airport on Friedens RD 1. The local airport was fog-shrouded, but conditions for an instrument landing were described as good.
The HIGGINS plane, which carried sophisticated radio instruments, made one pass over the airfield, but the pilot decided apparently to turn and make a second approach.
Upon turning away from the field, MRS. HIGGINS commented that she was encountering difficulty. Her words were heard by observers listening to the radio here and also at Cleveland, Ohio, where the comment reportedly was recorded.
The $50,000 aircraft then disappeared from radar screens, touching off an all-night search by approximately 40 volunteers. Members of the Somerset, Boswell, Friedens, Lislie and other area volunteer fire departments joined in the search. A number of pilots took off from the local field in an attempt to find the missing plane.

Altoona Mirror Pennsylvania 1974-09-03