04/08/09 253 W - + 15 - 12 Bomber Crashes, Charlotte, Henderson, 1944

On Nov. 30, 1944, a B-17 Flying Fortress crash landed in Charlotte, on a section of Southern Railway tracks, and trapped five Army fliers inside. Next, a fast-moving passenger train came round the proverbial bend, and was bearing down on the crashed craft in the rain and fog. A quick-thinking Eastern Airlines employee (a.) grabbed a broom, in (b.) a nearby guard house, (c.) lighted same from the stove, (d.) ran to a track worker, (e.) gave him the burning broom, (f.) so he signaled the train, and (g.) averted a deadly collision. Said the train's engineer, "there wasn't room for the thickness of my finger between my train and that plane." The aircraft was subsequently cut in half, to allow the train to pass.

On Dec. 13, 1944, a B-24 Liberator was heard circling over Henderson about 8 p.m. No lights were seen from the plane. Some minutes later, a "tremendous flash" was seen in the sky above the Henderson-Oxford Highway. The plane crashed near the highway, four miles from town, and set both the brush and trees on fire, on both sides of the roadway. People gathered at the scene, and fought the fire to prevent the nearby homes from catching. The crew of seven had bailed out of the plane, and three had been accounted for within two hours of the crash. All were presumed safe. The plane was on a routine training flight, from Langley Field, VA. Sources: News & Observer, 12/1, 12/14, 1944.

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