Transcribed from the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, IN, January 6, 1947, pages 1, 16:
48 Reported Dead In Crash
China Grounds All Commercial Planes
Shanghai, Jan. 5 (AP) — A Chinese airliner piloted by an American crashed near Tsingtao today and unconfirmed reports said all 43 persons aboard were killed.
The Chinese Ministry of Communications immediately ordered all Chinese commercial planes grounded for one week pending investigation of the crash and of the three which killed 71 persons near Shanghai Christmas night.
Chinese National Aviation Corporation, operators of the C-46 which was wrecked today, declined any information but other sources said passengers included two American Catholic nuns, Sister Elizabeth Lucille of the Order of Providence, native of Indianapolis, Ind., and Sister Jerilla of the Franciscan Mission to Egypt.
The pilot was identified as Charles J. Sharkey, Lawrence, Mass.
Search planes spotted the wreckage a few hours later in a horseshoe-shaped plain in Communist-controlled territory amid the Shantung Mountains west of Tsingtao. They were unable to determine whether there were any survivors. United States Navy planes based at Tsingtao participated in the search.
The plane, bound from Shanghai to Peiping via Tsingtao, was reported within 40 minutes of its Tsingtao landing when the crash occurred.
Dispatches from Tsingtao said rescue operations were hampered by inability to enter Communist territory.
Besides the American pilot and nuns, late reports said there were 36 Chinese passengers and four Chinese crew members aboard.
Four of the passengers were described as delegates en route home from the recent constitutional convention in Nanking.
Cause of the crash had not been determined.
Sharkey, veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force, had been a pilot for the Chinese airline for several years.
A communications ministry spokesman in Nanking said, “The ministry takes a serious view of these accidents. In order to fix responsibility and permit overhaul of all equipment, a one-week suspension of all flights is ordered.”
This halts operations of Chinese National Aviation Corporation and Central Air Transport Corporation, both government-controlled companies whose transports have been the only links between the national capital and many areas otherwise isolated totally by the civil war.