Ft. Warren, WY Airliner Crashes Into Rolling Hills, Oct 1946



Cheyenne, Wyo., Oct. 8 (UP) -- Federal aeronautics investigators Tuesday night were probing for the cause of the predawn crash of a four-motored United Air Lines Mainliner in which two passengers were killed and 45 other passengers and crew members were injured.
The Civil Aeronautics Authority and Civil Aeronautics board investigators, flown in from Kansas City and Denver, indicated they would not know what caused the crash for three or four days. The plane crashed as it prepared to land at Cheyenne.
The dead were identified as WILLIAM WANG, a San Francisco importer, and MRS. MARGARET FLINT of Cambridge, Mass.
Four of the passengers aboard the big ship were injured seriously and one of them was not expected to live. The others suffered abrasions and minor injuries and a severe jolting when the plane hit the ground.
Three infants aboard were hurt only slightly.
Circled For Landing.
The Mainliner -- bound from San Francisco to New York with a capacity load -- smashed into rolling terrain near the Fort Warren, Wyo., Army ammunition dump at 4:30 a.m. (MST) Tuesday after circling the Chyenne municipal airport for a landing.
Sketchy reports indicated the plane, piloted by Capt. LEONARD H. SMITH of Atherton, Cal., was flying in "heavy" weather when the crash occurred. Ceiling at the Cheyenne airport was reported down to 400 feet.
U.A.L. officials said the last radio report from the plane was received at the range station at 4:09 a.m. as the ship circled for an opening in the cloud and mist shrouding the airport. It crashed 22 minutes later.
W. A. PATTERSON, U. A. L. president, who flew to Cheyenne after receiving word of the tragedy, said officials of the line had not been able to talk to the pilot or copilot to learn what happened in the plane just before it hit.
"Not To Be Disturbed"
"They are under doctors' orders not to be disturbed," PATTERSON said, "and we'll just have to wait for 24 or 48 hours before we can talk to them about the accident."
Army officials at Fort Warren hospital, where most of the injured were rushed for emergency treatment, said the men could not be visited and that their telephones were restricted.
ALLEN HARMON, an aviation machinist's mate, who had just been released from the Navy and was on his way to his home at Charleston, S. C., said that he believed one of the plane's motors cut out just before the ship crashed.
"We had circled the field three or four times," HARMON said, "and were headed into the field. The weather was pretty murky, and I'm pretty sure one engine went out."
As it hit the ground the right wing was torn off, then the plane buckled and broke in two. However, there was no fire and its cargo and mail were saved.
The plane left San Francisco at 8:30 p.m. (PST), Monday with Cheyenne its first scheduled stop west of Chicago.
The critically injured passenger was MRS. RACHEL NEWMAN of San Francisco. She suffered severe head injuries.
Others injured seriously were rushed to the Memorial hospital in Cheyenne and to the Army post hospital at Fort Warren. A check-up was made of all passengers to determine the extent of their injuries and many were released after receiving emergency treatment. The uninjured were taken to the Cheyenne airport to resume their journeys eastward.
Capt. SMITH, a veteran U.A.L. pilot, suffered a broken nose, arm fracture and cuts and bruises. The copilot, First Officer JEROME S. BUCHMAN, 31, Menlo Park, Cal., and Stewardesses MARGARET FORD, 23, Millbrae, Cal., and MARY LEN CERNEY, 21, Pacific Grove, Cal., escaped injury.

Salt Lake Tribune Salt Lake City Utah 1946-10-09