Seven Biggs Field fliers were killed at 10:45 o'clock last night when a B-24 Bomber crashed on Mt. Franklin. The crash was approximately half way up the mountain opposite Memphis street.
When the bomber hit the mountain there was a sound like that of a great explosion far in the distance. Windows in a wide area shook and residents were awakened.
The plane burst into flames that rose as high as 100 feet, lightly Northeast El Paso brightly. People rushed outdoors. Scores of automobiles speeded to the mountain road below the plane wreckage, which was flaming over a wide area. It was easy to see that all in the plane must be dead; that there could be no escape from so great a fire.
The Dead: ...2nd Lieut. Benjamin C. Fricke, son of Mrs. Clara R. Fricke, Indianapolis, Ind....
The Fire Department answered scores of calls. Fire engines rumbled to the mountain road, with sirens screaming. Army forces appeared, including the Biggs Field crash crew and members of of the Medical Corps. They found the roads blocked by civilian vehicles. Police directed traffic.
The plane burned brightly for about 15 minutes. Then flames slowly died. Within an hour there was only a glow here and there. Then darkness hid the wreckage.
It was a tough climb up the mountain for the Army crews. The crash occurred behind a canyon that lies back of the Austin High School "A".
Identity of the fliers was not established until daylight.
Biggs Field officials are investigating. The plane crashed following a take-off from Biggs Field. Whether it failed to gain altitude or whether it dived down for some reason after gaining enough altitude to clear the mountain, Biggs Field officials would not say. Causes of crashes are military secrets.
No one was found who saw the plane crashing. "It hit and there is was, a mass of flames," said one investigator.
Today the mountain was marked by two black lines, where the plane had burned.
It was the third crash of a Biggs Field plane in a week. Dead in the three accidents total 26.
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps--Killed in the crash of B-24J Liberator #42-73228, eight miles SW of Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas.--330th Combat Crew Training Squadron -
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