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Description: Sixteen Burn To Death In Plane Crash - Including Two Victims From FairhopeDate: January 20 1930
Newspaper published in: Huntsville, AL
Page/Column: Page 1, Column 1
SIXTEEN BURN TO DEATH IN PLANE CRASH
Giant T. A. T. Maddux Liner Falls And Burns
CALIFORNIA SCENE OF LATEST TRAGEDY
Two of the Dead Were Man And Woman From Fairhope, Alabama
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 (AP) – A “peculiar weather mystery” was blamed by T. A. T. Maddux air liner officials here today for the crash near San Clemente last night on their tri-motored Ford monoplane which killed fourteen passengers and two pilots.
The fall of the plane was due, the officials held, to one of those peculiar weather mysteries which blew in rain from the Pacific in the particular area of the accident.
F. F. Preeg, flight superintendent at the Glendale terminal of the lines, said the pilot of the ill fated plane apparently was blinded by the rain and fog murk which hovered about the Oceanside and San Clemente bluffs. He said it was apparent that an emergency landing was being sought on account of the flying conditions and discounted eye witness reports of missing motors.
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 (AP) – Sixteen charred and mangled bodies lay in the morgue at Oceanside today as gruesome reminders of the crash of a giant T. A. T. Maddux air liner while returning to Los Angeles with a group of week-end visitors to Agua Caliente, Mexico.
The sixteen, two of them Alabamians, met a horrible death late yesterday at Oceanside when the transport faltered down out of the sky, plowed a big gash in the earth, burst into flames and became a gasoline fed funeral pyre.
None of the eight women and eight men aboard the transport lived to tell the story and all but three were burned beyond recognition.
Witnesses including a western express pilot who saw the big liner take its human cargo to a fiery doom, agreed that the ill-fated craft had been fighting against a thick fog which turned aerial traffic beneath a dangerously low 200-foot ceiling.
Spectators could but stand by powerless, knowing that all the plane’s occupants were beyond the reach of human aid.
Edward J. Bowen, president Union Tank and Pipe company, Los Angeles; Mrs. Edward J. Bowen, Los Angeles; Sedric Brown, assistant to J. L. Maddux, president of the T. A. T. Maddux Air Lines, Los Angeles; Mrs. Sedric Brown, Los Angeles; Mrs. Doris Cantillon, wife of Attorney Richard Cantillon, Los Angeles; Mrs. Ida M. Glover, relative of Mrs. Cantillon, Los Angeles; Mrs. Hannah Colliston, Fairhope, Alabama; Miss Frances Jamieson, Pasadena, Cal.; Benjamin Miller, San Francisco, Cal.; Mrs. Benjamin Miller, San Francisco, Cal.; W. W. Paden, real estate man, Los Angeles; Edward J. Small, Los Angeles; Charles Raybold, Fairhope, Alabama; Elizabeth Squibb, Pasadena, Cal.; Basil Russell, pilot of the plane and Freddie Walker, assistant pilot.
Two of the first persons to reach the wreck, Lieutenant Virgil Westbrook, army flier, and Police Chief Forest Eaton of San Clemente, agreed that the plane struck the hillside at an angle and that three of the bodies had been thrown clear of the wreckage. The other thirteen were piled forward in the steel cabin that had turned into a red hot death chamber.
The plane, one of the latest all-metal, tri-motored ships to ply the T. A. T. Maddux Airways, which earlier in the day had flown to Agua Caliente laden with joyous week-end sightseers intent upon a quest for pleasure in the lower California resort, took off for the return trip to Los Angeles at 5:30 p.m.
A wrist watch found on the body of Pilot Russel, its crystal and face smashed, had stopped at 6:23. Russel’s body, hand still clutching the steering wheel, was found buried beneath the forward motor.
Robert Hansen, of San Clemente, another witness said he saw the plane circling in an apparent effort to make a safe landing, and a few minutes later heard the crash.
“The motors were missing and the pilot appeared to be in trouble,” Hansen said.
Colonel Charles A. Lindberg, an official of the T. A. T. Maddux Air Lines, was in San Diego and was notified of the tragedy. He immediately assumed charge of operations and informed airways officials in Agua Caliente, San Diego and Los Angeles of the crash. He did not go to the scene, stating that nothing could be accomplished by such a move.
Colonel Lindbergh said neither he nor anyone else was in a position to say what might have caused the wreck. “We will make every possible effort to determine the cause of this unfortunate mishap,” Colonel Lindbergh said, “and when daylight comes, and a thorough examination of the wreckage can be made. It may be possible to learn what occurred.”
Bodies of all sixteen dead were in charge of the San Diego county coroner an inquest probably will be held today.
FAIRHOPE, Jan. 20 (AP) – The two instructors in the Fairhope school of organic education, Mrs. Hanna Bottsetin and Charles Rabold, who were killed Sunday at Ocean Side, Cal., in an airplane crash had been absent from Fairhope for only a short time, going from here to give instructions at a similar institution in California.
Mrs. Bottestein was a pianist, and instructor at the Fairhope school and Mr. Rabold was director in folk dancing here. He was well known throughout the country in this work. The two instructors were recently transferred to California where Mrs. Marietta Johnson who conducts the school here has another organic training school similar to the one at Fairhope.