Helicopter Accidents

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Sewart AFB, TN
29 Sep 1955

S/N 50-1240

The Daily Independent (Kannapolis, NC.)
Fri, Sep. 30, 1955, pages 1 & 7

Six Airmen Are Injured

Helicopter Crashes Into Mountainside

CALDERWOOD Tenn. (AP)  Six airmen were injured, two seriously, when a giant Air Force helicopter crashed into a remote spot on a rugged mountainside near here yesterday.

The pilot and co-pilot, Lt. Richard N. Lanzandorf and Lt. John E. Mentzer, were carried out late last night by civilian and Air Force rescue teams which spent about five hours in locating the crash scene. Lanzendorf suffered a back injury and Mentzer suffered a broken leg. They were admitted to the McGhee-Tyson Air Base infirmary near Knoxville.

Other injured occupants were identified as MSgt. Charles R. Conlee, A1C Richard A. Tecklenburt, A1C Gene A. Robason and A2C Harold R. Slaughter, all who suffered minor cuts and bruises.

Search crews located the crash after Tacklenburg and another airman left the scene and located a timber worker 30 year-old Harvey Garland, near Calderwood Dam, he said just before the crash “I looked up at the plane and then heard it sputter. It began losing altitude and then just sputtered loudly before it hit the ground.”

Garland and the crewmen went to the Calderwood power house, notified Air Force authorities and then formed a rescue team to find the way back to the other injured.

The rescue teams included units of the Civil Air Patrol and other rescue workers driving three jeeps containing doctors and medical supplies.

Lt. Col. W. E. Flagg, executive officer of McGhee Tyson AFB, said the cause of the crash was unknown. An Air Force investigating board will be sent from Sewart Air Base near Nashville to probe the crash.

The craft was an H-21 air-sea rescue helicopter returning to Sewart Base from Greenville, SC. Col. Flagg said the helicopter was “badly broken” by the impact.

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