TWA Passenger Plane Crashes; 22 Known Dead Wednesday, Nov 20 2013 

Transcribed from the St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida, November 5, 1944, page 1:

TWA Passenger Plane Crashes; 22 Known Dead

HANFORD, Cal. — (U.P.) — A Transcontinental & Western Air Lines transport flying from San Francisco to Burbank, Cal., crashed and burned in a field northeast of here last night, killing 22 and possibly 24 persons.

Searching parties, painstakingly covering the rain-soaked fields with the aid of flashlights, had found 17 bodies, including those of two women.

TWA officials in San Francisco announced that flight 8, en route to Burbank, was overdue and that 24 persons were aboard.

J. S. Bartels, regional operations manager at Burbank, reported that TWA officials were en route to the scene to investigate. The plane was identified by TWA as a Douglas DC-3 twin-engined transport, carrying 21 passengers and a crew of three.

Witnesses aiding in the search for bodies reported that the body of the stewardess, clad in a uniform bearing the TWA insignia, was found near the plane, which was also marked as a TWA craft.

They reported that there were both civilians and service men included in the group.

Of the bodies discovered, four were women. In addition to the stewardess, one was in the uniform of a SPAR, one was a navy nurse, and one a civilian.

Of the male passengers whose bodies had been taken into Hanford there were two soldiers, one marine, four navy men and four civilians.

Harold Anderson, Hanford, Cal., who was driving toward the city, reported the crash.

“The plane seemed to disintegrate in the air,” Anderson said. “I was driving along when pieces of the plane fell around my car. A mail sack and motor parts dropped right in front of me. I looked up to see the fuselage of the plane plummet into the field and burst into flames.”

Most of the bodies discovered around the plane — some of them lying 200 to 600 feet from the flaming wreckage — were taken to funeral parlors in Hanford.

The wreckage was still burning an hour after the crash and sheriff’s officers did not know how long it would be before the fuselage could be searched for additional bodies.

TWA officials in San Francisco said the passenger list would be released from their Kansas City, Mo., offices. Names of military personnel would not be released pending army approval, they said.


24 Perish In Plane Tuesday, Nov 19 2013 

Transcribed from the Reading Eagle, Reading, Pennsylvania, November 5, 1944, page 1:

24 Perish In Plane

California Sheriff Reports Army, Navy Men Are Victims

Hanford, Cal., Nov. 4 (AP) — Twenty-four persons died when an airplane crashed here tonight, Sheriff Orvie H. Clyde, of Kings County, reported. Clyde said that the plane appeared to be a commercial airliner, and that the persons killed were army and navy personnel.

The bodies were scattered over an area of a mile. There was no indication that any of the passengers had attempted to bail out.

The plane was burning when discovered by Harold Anderson, a farmer, the sheriff said.

Anderson said parts of an airplane fell about him. Then he saw the plane burning about a half mile away.

Transcontinental & Western Air officials at San Francisco reported that one of their regular passenger planes, last heard from near Hanford, was overdue at Burbank, Cal., air field.

They said the plane was a regular Flight No. 8. The captain was A. T. Bethel; first officer, G. E. Smith, and hostess, Miss Ruth Miller, all of Burbank, TWA officials said.

The plane was en route from San Francisco to Burbank.

The bodies were scattered from 100 to 200 feet apart, most of the clothes ripped from them, Sheriff Clyde said.

Ambulances were rushed to the scene from Hanford, and from the Lemoore Airbase, 20 miles west.

Sheriff Clyde said that there was no indication of the cause of the accident. It was raining at the time, he reported.