1921 Military Plane Crash

Submitted by Charles Green.

On Friday, July 15, 1921, The Moundsville Echo carried the front page article covering the military plane crash that occurred at Moundsvilleís Langin Field on July 10, 1921. The plane was attempting to take off when it developed trouble and crashed, killing five spectators and spraying burning fuel over the area. The two pilots, Lieutenants C. R. MacIver and T. H. Dunton, both of Texas, suffered minor burns and were rescued by Carl Miller, coach at Bethany College and Sergeant Roy Dooley. Fourteen of the injured were treated at Glendale Hospital for burns and lacerations.


(Photo provided by David Burley.)

Those killed were:

Mrs. George W. Long, 55, of 110 Tomlinson Avenue
Mr. Fred C. Edge, 48, of Round Bottom
Carl Pettit, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Pettit of 2100 Second Street
Ralph C. Hartzell, 11, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hartzell of Center and Second Streets
Leo Moroski, 9, of Mulberry Avenue

Fifteen automobiles were destroyed in the accident and their value was estimated at $20,000. The Martin Bomber had a wingspan of 76 feet, a length of 44 feet and two Liberty engines each of 450 horsepower. The total weight of the plane was about 11,000 pounds. Itís top speed was between 80 and 100 miles per hour. The value of the plane was estimated at about $80,000 and it was completely destroyed. The plane was flying from San Antonio, Texas to Washington DC. It had arrived before noon from Dayton, and at 2:15pm it was attempting to take off for Langley Field in Virginia.



(Photos provided by David Burley.)

The Wheeling Register newspaper had extensive coverage of the accident and photos were loaned to the newspapers by Mr. W. H. Dinger of Wheeling. The Wheeling Register described the accident as, "One of the worst in American Aviation." Both pilots were credited with assisting with the rescue of several of those injured, even though they both suffered burns on their arms and faces.

Some of the less seriously injured are:

Mrs. George Merts of Bellaire, collar bone injury
Mr. Carl V. Miller, burns to arms and face
Mr. R. Elmer Roberts, burns to arms and face
Mrs. Stacy Stephens and daughter Elsie, burns and bruises
Mr. Frank R. Taylor, burns to face and hands
J. M. McBroom, burns to the face and hands
Mrs. M. Keyser, bruises
Miss Mary Rulong, 18, daughter of Mrs. Frank Rulong, right leg burned and bruised
Leo Hill, 17, burned on both arms
Carey Nation, right leg hurt
Miss Elizabeth McDonald, left side of head and arms bruised
W.M. Kittle, president of County Court, burned on hands and face
Frank Zelnik, burned on arms
Walter McAdam of Mannington, burned on face
William Rohr of Wheeling, cut on head
C.W. Caldabaugh, burned on neck and arms
Jasper Harding , 40, of Panama Mine, laid out on field between wreck and hangar, later taken away
Elmer Fogel, 6, of 1035 Jefferson Avenue, badly burned about hands, feet and face
Leonard Darrah, 52, and Stanley Patrick, 6, both suffered fractured skulls and are getting along as well as can be expected.