Rudolph J. Le Hutta
Sergeant, United States Army Air Corps
Conroy, Lone Survivor of the Army Plane Crash, Dies at a Harrisburg Hospital
Coin Toss Saved Dinger
Captain Flipped With Angell To Determine Who Should Pilot the C-2 to Washington
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, January 12, 1929 – The death toll in the crash of the Army transport airplane C-2 in Royalton yesterday afternoon a few minutes after taking off from the Army Air Depot at Middletown mounted to eight today when Sergeant Patrick Conroy of Somerville, Massachusetts, died at the Polyclinic Hospital here.
Conroy was the only one of the eight service men, including Lieutenant Henry R. Angell, pilot of the C-2, who lived more than an hour after the big tri-motored Fokker fell in the back yard of a residence in the center of the village.
The sergeant’s death, it is believed, removed possibility of ever getting definite information on the cause of the accident.
An investigation by Captain Christine, acting commandant at the Middletown Air Depot, is now under way as required by army regulations. This will aim to determine all of the available facts in the case. The wreckage of the splintered ship has been removed to the Middletown Depot.
Flapping of the control wings as the plane soared over the house tops convinced laymen, they said, that the pilot was making every effort to keep the plane up in the hope of getting back to Middletown Field.
There was much discussion of the accident today and various views were expressed as to the probable cause. Some persons said that men on the Middletown flying field had expected that the transport would make the customary circle of the field so the ground men could pass judgment from the noise of the exhaust, before giving the signal for clearance.
The C-2 did not circle the field, it is said, but kept straight ahead. Observers today said that they believed that one of the motors was not functioning as the plane neared Royalton.
Three officers of the Middletown Air Depot were named by Acting Commandant Christine as an investigating board. They are Captain J. A. Easterbrook, engineering officer of the post, who designed and installed some of the special equipment in the sister ship of the C-2, the Question Mark, for its record-breaking flight; Lieutenant H. H. Mills and Lieutenant Kenneth C. McGregor, the last named being Post Adjutant.
The officers constituting the board appointed to fix the amount of damage done by the plane to private property are Captain Fleming, Lieutenant Zellner and Lieutenant Smith. Dr. J. F. Blecher, Post Physician, will assist both of these boards.
Captain Henry A. Dinger, who was in charge of the transport when it flew from Washington to Middletown just prior to the accident, probably owes his life to the flip of a coin. He tossed a coin with Lieutenant Angell to see who would take the plane back. Captain Dinger lost the toss and flew back in an amphibian place assigned to Secretary of War Davis.
Miss Charlotte Bucker of Washington, fiancé of Sergeant Conroy, arrived at the Polyclinic Hospital here today ten minutes after he died. She was overcome with grief when told of his death.
WILL BURY FIVE IN ARLINGTON
WASHINGTON, January 12, 1929 – Five of the eight men who lost their lives in the crash of the Army Transport Plane C-2 will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday. Services will be held at the vault in the Cemetery at 10 o’clock in the morning for Lieutenant Angell.
Immediately after his burial a joint service will be held for Sergeants Joseph B. McCarthy, Henry Cronan and Rudolph J. Le Hutta and Private Samuel P. Jones, who will be buried in the enlisted men’s section of the cemetery. NOTE: Arlington records indicate that Samuel P. Jones was First Lieutenant, United States Army Air Corps.
Sergeant Patrick Conroy will be buried in New
York City and Private Clarence E. Birch in Chicago. Funeral arrangements
have not been made for Private Mike D. Kelly.
Posted: 20 January 2008