Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Joseph W. G. MillsAugust 08, 1944 – June 04, 1969
HH-43B 59-1554“Pedro 02”
Det. 14, EARRC, ARRS, (MAC)MacDill AFB, FL.04 June 1969
Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, PN.),Thr., June 5, 1969, page 2
Helicopter Crash Kills 8 Airmen
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — At approximately 1735 hours (EDT) eight airmen were killed Wednesday when an HH-43B Air Force Husky helicopter plummeted into a scrub brush field, crashed and burned, on a return flight from Avon Park Bombing and Gunnery Range to MacDill AFB.
Base officials withheld identification of the victims, five crew members and three passengers until relatives could be notified.
Air Force SSgt. Dennis Surratt who had a part-time job on an egg farm near the crash site at the hamlet of Picnic, said “I looked up as it passed overhead and I saw the blades let go — they just came apart in the air.”
Base officials said, the cause of the crash, had not been determined but Lt. Col. Charles Riley of the 836th Combat Squadron said it apparently was caused by “failure of a major internal component.”
Surratt said the helicopter fell about 200 feet to the ground. He said he heard two explosions on impact and the helicopter burst into flames.
Air Force spokesmen said the turbo-jet rescue helicopter, was assigned to Detachment 14 of the Eastern Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron. The helicopters fly to Avon Park as a safety precaution in case there is an accident as jet fighter-bombers practice bomb runs.
The Progress (Clearfield, Pennsylvania) · Fri, Jun 6, 1969 · Page 1
The crew members and passengers killed in the crash are identified as Maj. Dale W. Eder (P), Sgt. Coy N. Carrington (FE), SSgt. Patrick J. Geisler (FF), Sgt. Jerry B. Evans (FF), A1C Jon H. Showers (MT), A1C Graig A. Carver (Passenger), SSgt. Joseph W. G. Mills (Passenger) and Army SSgt. Walter Williams Jr (Passenger).
USAF Accident/Incident Report, 26 June 1969 & The Amarillo Glove-Times (Amarillo, TX) Thu, Jun 5, 1969, page 19