Cheshire, CT – January 18, 1946

Cheshire, Connecticut – January 18, 1946

 

   DC-3  At 9:55 a.m. on January 18, 1946, Eastern Airlines Flight 16-B left Miami, Florida, en-route to Charlestown, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., La Guardia Airport in New York City, and finally Boston.  The plane was a twin-engine DC-3,  a former C-47 used by the U.S. military that had been converted for civilian use.  (Civilian registration # NC19970)

     Shortly after leaving New York for Boston, a fire erupted in the left-wing engine.  Witnesses reported seeing the airliner trailing flames and smoke shortly before the left wing collapsed causing the plane to drop from the sky.  The fuselage “pancaked” into a brush choked area about 1.5 miles north of the Cheshire State Reformatory in the town of Cheshire, Connecticut.    All 16 persons aboard were killed.   

     According to an article that appeared in The Cheshire Herald  on January 11, 2011, the crash occurred near present-day Wolf Hill Road and Copper Valley Court

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Roy A. Kuser, of Trenton, New Jersey.

     (Co-pilot) Robert S. Knight, Jackson Heights, New York.

     (Flight Steward) Willard Bassett, of Jackson Heights, New York.

     Navy Lieutenant Scott Faron, USNR, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

     Mrs. Charlotte Sturman and her baby daughter Jean, 2, of Newton Center, Massachusetts. Mrs. Sturman was traveling with her 2-year-old daughter and Barbara Thompson, a nurse for the child.  They had been vacationing in Miami, but cut the vacation short to fly back to Newton to be with Mrs. Sturman’s husband, Captain Hyman Sturman. 

     Barbara Thompson, of Standish, Maine.

     Mr. and Mrs. Saul Miller, of Montreal, Canada.

     David McVeigh, of New York City.

     Norman E. Falt, of Chevy Chase, Maryland.

     Professor John B. Mitsch, of Milton, Massachusetts.  He was an associate professor of engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  (Although some sources list his address as New York City, his home was in Milton, Mass.)  He was survived by his wife and two children.  

     Mrs. Constance Ludwig, of New York City.

     Paul Maynard, of Caldwell, New Jersey.

     Gerard Voetlink, of Brooklyn, New York.

     Henry Berger, of New York City.

     Separate investigations were conducted into the incident.  One by the federal Civil Aeronautics Bureau, others by Connecticut state aeronautics officials, state and local police, and the New Haven County Coroner’s Office.   

     Investigators blamed a faulty fuel line for the crash.  

     It was reported that this accident was the first in New England involving loss of life on a regularly scheduled commercial flight, according to the Massachusetts State Aeronautics Commission.

     Sources:

     Woonsocket Call, “Sixteen Perish In Connecticut Plane Disaster”, January 18, 1946, Pg. 1

     Woonsocket Call, “3 Probes Started In Airline Crash”, January 19, 1946, Pg. 1

    Woonsocket Call, “3 Bay State Victims”, January 19, 1946, Pg. 9

     Providence Journal, “All Aboard Airliner Killed In Crash At Cheshire, Ct.”, January 19, 1946, Pg. 1

   Aviation Safety Network

     The Cheshire Herald, “Plane crashes Near Boulder Road”, by John Rook, January 11, 2011.  (This article also talks about a small plane that crash-landed near Boulder Road in Cheshire.  There were no injuries.)    

    

    

    

 

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