June 8, 2011
Hoosier History 101

Reports of “sabotage” hit U.S. news wires June 8, 1951, after the largest plane disaster in peacetime history occurred in and around Richmond, Indiana.

Life reported, “Three pilots were killed; some of the planes, shredded to pieces, left only holes in the ground. How could it have happened to eight planes simultaneously? They had flown into a mild electrical storm. Could that be the answer? Or did the maintenance crews slip up? Or was it sabotage?”

There were 71 planes in the Air Force flight from Austin, Texas.

The Sandusky Register (then the Sandusky Register-Star) had a frightening report from a Mrs. Fred Musser:

"She thought she and her five children were caught in an enemy bombing raid. One plane crashed almost in their front yard. ‘I heard the planes zooming around, and then heard a noise that sounded like thunder — only a lot worse,’ Mrs. Musser said. ‘I ran outdoors and saw the first plane go down across the road from the Perfect Circle Plant and then suddenly, there was an explosion almost right over my head. I thought sure it was an air raid and that those planes were dropping bombs.’ Plane parts smashed four windows in the Musser house and tore several holes in the frame walls."

(Source: pacaeropress.websitetoolbox.com)