Cheyenne, WY Airliner Crash When Landing, Oct 1946



Cheyenne, Wyo., Oct. 8. -- (AP) -- An early morning crash of a United Air Lines mainliner as it glided in for a landing at the Cheyenne airport took the lives of two persons and caused injuries, some believed to be serious, to at least 10 persons shortly before dawn today.
One of the victims of the crash which occurred on the Fort Warren military reservation a mile and a half northwest of the Cheyenne airport, was an unidentified woman believed to be about 50 years old. Passenger lists were being checked to provide identification.
The other victim of the accident was identified by Coroner Wesley A. Schrader as WILLIAM WING, about 35, of 1330 Cabrillo street, San Francisco.
Dr. Franklin Yoder, one of the physicians who treated the injured, said 10 persons were under treatment at Memorial hospital in Cheyenne and the pilot and co-pilot were being treated at the Ft. Warren hospital. He said the extent of the injuries had not yet been determined, but he believed some of the passengers might have suffered serious injuries.
CAPT. L. H. SMITH of San Francisco, pilot of the plane, suffered a broken nose and head injuries, and Copilot LARRY BUCHMAN, also was hurt.
The extent of his injuries was not disclosed. Other members of the crew were MARGARET FORD and M. CERNEY, Stewardesses.
ALLAN HARMON, a sailor from Charlotte, N.C., who was one of the 46 persons aboard the San Francisco to Chicago bound plane, told reporters that the crash occurred after the plane had circled the city three times preparatory to coming in for a landing.
HARMON said he believed one of the four engines of the plane went out just a few seconds before the accident. He said the engine which appeared to hime to sputter and stop was one of the two right engines. The plane, he added, was flying about 400 feet above the ground.
The sailor said the right wing of the plane appeared to dip and that the plane apparently was too low for the pilot to right it. The plane struck the ground with a tremendous crash.
As the large plane plummeted to earth and broke in two, it narrowly missed striking an ammunition storage building on the Fort Francis E. Warren military reservation by 100 yards, according to Sheriff Norbert E. Tuck. Military authorities, however, said that it was extremely doubtful whether the ammunition would have exploded had the plane struck the building.
Sheriff Tuck said the plane broke in two just ahead of the wings. Two small infants aboard the plane, he added, were not hurt.
W. A. Patterson, president of United Air Lines, who flew here from Chicago to head an investigation into the accident, said at noon it had not yet been determined what caused the plane to crash within sight of the airfield.
The plane left San Francisco at 10:20 o'clock last night and apparently had a normal trip as far as Cheyenne, the only stop on the flight between the coast and Chicago.
Three children aboard the plane with their parents were not hurt.
The woman who was killed was a connection passenger having boarded the plane at San Francisco from another plane.
"There were 44 people who walked away from that plane which was very fortunate because it could have been a lot more serious," said Sheriff Tuck.

Independent Record Helena Montana 1946-10-08



United Airlines officials in Cheyenne, Wyo., today described as improved the conditions of J. A. KISTLER, 48, of Fresno and FLOYD R. B. VIAU, 19, of Del Rey, who suffered severe injuries in the pre-dawn crash of a UAL plane yesterday at Cheyenne.
Meanwhile, Civil Aeronautics Authority agents arrived at the crash scene from Denver and Kansas City, Mo., to seek to discover the cause of the crash of the San Francisco to Chicago bound airliner in which a San Francisco man and a Cambridge, Mass., woman were killed, eight other passengers were injured seriously and 37 others suffered minor hurts.
KISTLER, Fresno district traffic manager for the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, suffered fractures of both legs and his back, a crushed foot and severe shock. VIAU suffered a split liver, other internal injuries and severe shock. They are in the Fort Warren Hospital in Cheyenne.
The United Airlines flew MRS. KISTLER and her daughters, ELNA MARIE, 18, and DOROTHEA, 17, from Fresno to Cheyenne yesterday afternoon to be with the husband and father. They live at 5015 Kerckhoff.
Although the UAL officials today reported VIEU'S condition to be improved, it was described as critical last night by a physician with whom his family talked by telephone. LAWRENCE VIAU, a brother who attends the Hastings Law School in San Francisco, reached Cheyenne today and their mother, MRS. L. E. VIAU, to visit whom VIAU was flying east in enroute from Providence, R.I. to his bedside. She was visiting in Rhode Island.
Two other Fresno area men who were passengers of the plane escaped injury. They are Technical Sergeant CHARLES BURKEY of 1296 Echo Avenue, Fresno, and E. E. GREENOUGH, of Merced. BURKEY, a son in law of Mr. and Mrs. Nick Kikkert of Fresno, is stationed at Westover Field, Mass. GREENOUGH, a breeder of Jersey cattle, was enroute to Columbus, O., to attend a dairyman's meeting.
KISTLER, on his annual vacation, was on his way to Boston, Mass. to visit his mother.
VIAU recently was discharged from the marine corps. He is a graduate of the Selma High School and attended the University of California one year. He planned to re-enter the university at the beginning of the next semester.
The airliner went down at 4:31 A.M. in a fog near a Fort Watten ammunition dump after circling the Cheyenne Municipal Airport in an attempt to land.
Its right wing was ripped off.
W. E. Andrews of Kansas City, chief of the fifth region of the Civil Aeronautics Board announced a public hearing into the cause of the crash will be held in Cheyenne Monday morning.

Fresno Bee California 1946-10-09