Date & Time: Jan 15, 1943
Type of aircraft:
Douglas C-54 Skymaster
Operator:
Registration:
41-32939
Flight Phase:
Flight
Flight Type:
Military
Survivors:
No
Site:
Plain
MSN:
3114
YOM:
1942
Country:
Suriname
Crew on board:
10
Crew fatalities:
10
Pax on board:
25
Pax fatalities:
25
Other fatalities:
0
Total fatalities:
35
Circumstances:
The four-engine aircraft was performing a flight from the US to Casablanca via South America (probably Natal), on behalf of the Air Transport Command. The on board delegation was flying to Morocco to take part to a conference. Rumors of a bomb on board caused the crew to divert to Port of Spain. A screwdriver was found in the hatch containing the IFF device but no trace of a bomb. While flying over Suriname, the aircraft exploded in mid-air, disintegrated and crashed in an isolated area located 30 miles northeast of Paramaribo. All 35 occupants were killed, among them Eric Mowbray Night, author and creator of the fictional collie 'Lassie'. He was Major by the US Army Special Services as well. Two identical C-54 planes traveling just 1/2 hour before and after this plane noticed anti-aircraft fire coming from what appeared to be an enemy submarine.
Crew (TWA):
Benjamin Hart Dally Jr., pilot,
Theodore M. Wagner, copilot,
Samuel S. Dorrance, flight surgeon,
Everett Lee Bacon, copilot,
Jason E. Voss, navigator,
James M. Kane, navigator,
Clyde E. Quisenberry, flight engineer,
Leonard La Frank, radio operator,
Leo J. Moriarty, radio operator,
Eugene A. Dempf, flight purser.
Passengers:
Maj Eric Mowbray Knight,
Cpt Albert L. Seeman,
Cpt Basil D. Gallagher,
1st Lt Charles W. Campbell,
1st Lt Peter D. Barnhart,
1st Lt Donald C. Martin,
2nd Lt Carl A. Matteo,
2nd Lt Robert B. Walker,
2nd Lt John T. Girling,
2nd Lt Thomas L. Gallagher,
2nd Lt Max Solomon,
F/O Charles S. Shively,
S/Sgt Russell A. Baughman,
S/Sgt Ellis H. Roberts Jr.,
S/Sgt Heyward O. Wylie,
S/Sgt Roger M. Stoflet,
Sgt Oscar Spahr Jr.,
Sgt Charles S. Roberts Jr.,
Percy E. Foxworth,
Harold D. Haberfeld,
William Hodson,
James W. Seeger,
Charles Howell Brown,
Osmon E. Henryson,
Morris Lewis.
Source: http://www.lassiecomehome.info/id8.html
Probable cause:
The exact cause of the disintegration could not be determined.