35 dead in crash of Czech air­liner

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - EDITORIAL -

At least 35 peo­ple have lost their lives in the crash of a Cze­choslo­vakian air­craft at Gander early Tues­day morn­ing.

The big turbo-prop crashed shortly af­ter take-off from Gander In­ter­na­tional air­port af­ter re-fu­el­ing stop at ap­prox­i­mately 2:40.

A to­tal of 69 per­sons were on board the plane and of­fi­cials say at least 35 have been in­jured, many crit­i­cally.

The air­craft crashed on the rail­way tracks tear­ing up ap­prox­i­mately 250 feet. Wreck­age of the plane was strewn for one and a half miles.

The dead were taken to the Al­lied Hanger and three per­sons have died at the James Pa­ton Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal. Five mem­bers of one fam­ily es­cape, how­ever, a son was re­ported to have sus­tained se­vere burns.

The Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion team ar­rived at Gander t 11 a.m. to­day to be­gin the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The ad­min­is­tra­tor of the hos­pi­tal, G. Lester, said the emer­gency plan was in­voked im­me­di­ately af­ter the call was re­ceived.

Mr. Lester said 17 of those ad­mit­ted are suf­fer­ing from se­vere burns which have to be treated with a me­chan­i­cal kid­ney. He said 17 would be trans­ferred to the Vic­to­ria Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Hal­i­fax which is the near­est hos­pi­tal pro­vid­ing that type of treat­ment. They will be ac­com­pa­nied by a doc­tor from Gander and Ar­gen­tia and med­i­cal corps men.

Mr. Lester said there has been no ex­tra staff added, how­ever, peo­ple have been called to do­nate blood.

He said those ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal ap­pear to be do­ing rather well. He said Dr. Coxan, Med­i­cal Su­per­in­ten­dent re­ported that he had only two more cases to op­er­ate on, at 1:30 Tues­day af­ter­noon.

He said it wil be sev­eral days and maybe weeks be­fore any of them will be re­leased.

The hos­pi­tal is now on an emer­gency ba­sis and no visitors will be per­mit­ted at least for the next day or so. He said most of the staff has been work­ing for 12 hours and they are tired.

Mem­bers of the Gander Fire Depart­ment, RCAF, RCMP, and all avail­able air­line per­son­nel have been on the scene since the crash oc­curred.

The plane was on a flight from Prague, Cze­choslo­vakia, to Ha­vana, Cuba, and most of the oc­cu­pants are said to be of var­i­ous na­tion­al­i­ties.

The last ma­jor crash in the area oc­curred in 1946 when an air­liner crashed one half mile south of Gander Lake.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The wreck­age of a Cze­choslo­vakian turbo prop air­craft was strewn for one and a half miles af­ter it crashed at Gander In­ter­na­tional air­port early Tues­day morn­ing. Of­fi­cials say at least 35 peo­ple were killed and 34 in­jured, many crit­i­cally. The plan was on a trip from Prague, Cze­choslo­vakia to Ha­vana, Cuba. The crash oc­curred at 2:40 a.m.

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