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Airliner crashes into homes in Riverton and 27 die on November 17, 1955.

HistoryLink.org Essay 2854 : Printer-Friendly Format

On November 17, 1955, a chartered airliner departing Boeing Field crashes into homes in Riverton, killing 27 people. There are 47 survivors. No one on the ground is injured.

The Douglas DC-4 was operated by Peninsula Air Transport and bound for Billings, Chicago, and Newark. The airplane had been chartered by servicemen who had just arrived in Seattle from Korea. Witnesses said that after leaving Boeing Field just after midnight, one of the four engines appeared to falter before the airplane lost altitude. The airplane hit a tree and a power pole before coming to rest near the homes of Collin F. Dearing, Sr. and Sam Montgomery near the intersection of S 120th St. and Des Moines Avenue.

Dearing's wife and five children managed to escape. Mrs. Dearing later said, "I'll never forget my thankfulness to those soldiers or seeing them out there in the yard with their blood stained faces shouting at me to get out." Both homes were heavily damaged and Montgomery's truck was destroyed.

Although the crash occurred in an area called Riverton and Boulevard Park, outside Seattle City Limits, units of the Seattle Police and Fire Departments responded.

Among the passengers was Edward McGrath, a Peninsula pilot, and his wife and three children. McGrath was killed, but his family survived.

Peninsula Air Transport had had its license to operate suspended for a time the previous summer and at the time of the crash, was the subject of hearings by the Civil Aeronautics Board for overloading airplanes and overworking pilots.

Sources:
"47 Survive in Air-Liner Crash Which Killed 27 Near Riverton," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 18, 1955, p. 1, 2, 7, 12, 13, 23.


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