Sunday, June 16, 2013

Air Force Base/ Wilmington Airpark History

Clinton County Air Force Base/ Wilmington Airpark History
Part IV

August 10,1968:
C-119 crash kills six. Plane crashes in a field south of the base when attempting to return to the base after losing power on one of the two engines.
Incomplete report from the Ellenburg, WA Daily Record.

Six Reservists Killed In Crash

Wilmington, Ohio AP - Six reservists were killed Friday when a C-119 Flying Boxcar on a routine training mission crash-landed in a pasture near here.
The crew of four and 21 Reservists survived the flaming crash which occurred shortly after the plane left Clinton County Air Force Base for Otis A.F.B. Mass. for an overnight flight [stay].
Air Force Sources said the pilot of the big plane, knew he was losing flying capability and elected to crash land.
Why the aircraft lost power probably won’t be known until a military investigation team reconstructs the aircraft from pieces strewn over a one quarter mile area of rolling pasture land just north [southeast] of Wilmington and questions the crew, sources said.
Maj. Edward Hillman, Clinton County [Air Force Base] information officer, said witnesses told him the plane lost power shortly after takeoff and was making a turn – apparently to return to the Clinton Field – when it went down and burst into flames.
The 27 passengers, reservists from southern Ohio, were members of the 907 AL refueling squadron. [907 Airlift] based at Clinton and were midway through their summer training program Hillman said.
Firefighters used trucks and chains to pull the twin tail section from the burning aircraft to reach survivors and remove the dead.

Notes: The crash site was across SR 134 south in the Berlin Rd. area. 
I was a flight engineer on a KC-97 that was making practice landings at the base that day and I recall from radio traffic with the tower that the C-119 aborted the first takeoff because of a backfire on one of the engines. The second attempt ended in the crash when the pilot turned in the direction of the dead engine.
If anyone who reads this has any corrections or comments about the crash, please email me and I will post the comments/corrections on the blog.


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Published 6/13/13

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