|Birth: ||Jun. 9, 1966|
|Death: ||Dec. 12, 1985|
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Charter plane crashes, 258 die
Members of 101st Airborne Division on board
Gander, Newfoundland- A DC-8 charter carrying 258 U.S. servicemen and crew from the Middle East home for Christmas crashed in flames today on takeoff at Gander International Airport, killing all aboard, officials and witnesses said.
Major Kenneth Miller of Canadian Search and Rescue reported in a telephne interview with The Associated Press from Halifax, Nova Scotia, that 250 passengers and eight crewmembers were killed in the crash.
The plane was carrying members of the 101st Airborne assigned to the Sinai peacekeeping force back to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where the unit is headquartered, the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon said there were more than 250 military personnel aboard, but no dependents, from the division, which had been on peacekeeping duty since July.
Miller also told Canadian Press, "All we know is that there were no survivors." He said his information came from the Gander control center.
CBC radio said its radio correspondent at the scene, Ed Pike, quoted witnesses as saying the plane exploded, lighting up the sky.
"We were driving to work.....when we saw this big explosion...and it died down very quickly. In a matter of seconds, it was gone," said Ann Hurley, a nearby resident.
A Pentagon source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he knew of no explosion. "We have no reason to suspect sabotage. We know only that this plane crashed and burned. The matter is being investigated by civilian authorities."
The airport was overcast with light snow and light winds at the time of the crash, according to the aviation weather report. There had been light, freezing drizzle a few hours earlier.
David Bridges, spokesman for the Rome-based Multinational Force and Observers, said the plane had flown from Cairo to Cologne, West Germany, where it refueled, to Gander for a second refueling.
The Hopkinsville (Ky.) New Era reported Wednesday that a detachment of more than 200 soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, was due at the local post today at 9 a.m. CST.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Vedder Steed in Atlanta, Ga., said the plane belonged to Arrow Air, a Miami-based charter firm.
"I do not have (more) information available," said Mark Sapp, director of reservations for the carrier, which employs about 650 people from its Miami base. "We are at the mercy at our flight control department, and they have released no information."
"All I can confirm is that it was an Arrow Air DC-8," Sapp said.
Gander airport manager John Pittman told the AP by telephone that the plane went down about a quarter-mile from the airport.
When asked if there was a fire aboard, he said "yes," but did not elaborate.
Roads to the airport were blocked as emergency vehicles made their way to the scene.
In Ottawa, a Transport Canada spokesman said a crash operation center was set up at about 6 a.m. about 45 minutes after first word of the crash was received.
Gander International Airport is located approxiamtely 150 miles northwest of St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland on Canada's Atlantic seaboard. It is often used by planes traveling between North America and Europe.
The DC-8 is a four-engine jet manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. The plane that crashed was 16 years old and had flown about 50,000 hours and 27 million miles, a spokesman for the manufacturer said.
Plot: Sec. 20, Blk. 9R, Lot 81
Created by: M E Evans
Record added: Jan 09, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 32788261