School Children killed in 1947 plane crash - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

School Children killed in 1947 plane crash


BURLINGTON (KWWL) -- A plane crash killed a navy pilot and two schoolboys playing ball May 18, 1947.  Six other people were seriously hurt when the fighter plane went out of control at an airshow and crashed into the playground in Burlington.

More than 3,500 people at the airshow watched as the Corsair fighter fell from the sky.  The airshow was part of the opening of National Naval Reserve Week that year.

Cort Klein, city editor of the Burlington Hawkeye-Gazette, gave this description of the crash:

The plane plowed through the backstop fence of the Perkins School Playground, hurtled across the ball diamond, and crashed into a tree at a street intersection. The pilot's mangled body was found at the base of the tree which had snapped off. Parts of it were 175 feet away.

The plane exploded and burned. A 5-year-old girl standing across the street was severely burned by sprays of gasoline. The school-boys killed and injured were hit by flying parts of the plane wreckage.

Several nearby houses also were damaged by flying debris. Wreckage was scattered over four blocks.

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