Clipped From Independent
Study says Bl 'costly mistake' --Story on Page A-5 INDEPENDENT 40 Pages LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, MONDAY, FEBRUARYS, 1976 , HE 5-1161 - Cbssified No. HE 2-5959 e^jjjjSp Â·* Home Delivered Daily and Sundoy - WEATHER Showers today, partly cloudy tonight. High near 64, low 52. Complete weather, Page C-8. Vol. 35. No. 131 - $4.00 Per Month FIREMEN are engulfed by flames moments after a spark from a circular saw touched off the blaze in airplane wreckage. Rescu- ers were using the saw to occupants trapped hi cockpit. cut through fuselage to reach AP Photo-Copyright Los Angeles Times 3 crewmen die in cockpit; 10 firemen burned Plane-crash rescuers ignite explosion By RUSS MACDONALD, Staff Writer Three crewmen died Sunday in the mangled cockpit of a four-engine charier plane that crashed near Van Nuys Airport, and 10 firemen trying to rescue them were burned when a power saw touched off an explosion. Three other members of the Mercer Enterprises DCS crew survived the 10:35 a.m. crash at the edge of a golf course near the Woodley Avenue Park a mile south of the airport and crawled free of the wreckage. Authorities identified the dead as Arthur Michael Bankers, 53, of 1614 W. 218th St., Torrance, the flight engineer; pilot James Seccumbe, 38, of Glendale; and copilot Jack Finger, 55, of Carpente- ria, a recently retired Los Angeles police officer from Foothill Division. It was not immediately known whether Ihey were killed in the crash or died later in the blaze ignited by sparks from the firemen's saw. Stewardesses Jan Butte, 24, of West Los Angeles, and Susan Masters, 25, were treated for minor injuries at Valley Receiving Hospital and released. Crew trainee Guy DeMeo, 16, of Burbank, was not injured in the crash, authorities said. The propeller-driven airplane had just taken off from HollywoodtBurbank Airport, bound for Ontario International Airport to pick up passengers for a charter flight to Las Vegas, when there was an explosion in orte engine, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said. Seccumbe tried to fly the disabled plane to Van Nuys Airport about 10 miles away but fell short, landing at the edge of the golf course and. hitting a club-house trailer, the spokesman said. The golf course,. which normally would have been jammed with a late Sunday morning crowd, was closed because of bad weather. : Although heavily damaged, part of the fuselage remained intact after the crash and the two stewardesses and DeMeo were able to climb out. Los Angeles firemen tried to pry their way into (he cockpit to reach the three crewmen but had to use a saw to open a hole in the side of forward section of the plane. Fuel from the airplane ignited and the firemen were engulfed in the Fire Capt. Larry Park, 34, and firemen Thomas Schmitz, 27, and Raymond Walker, 31, were reported in satisfactory condition at County-USC Medical Center. Firemen Richard Denning and Michaelangelo and ambulance attendant Ronald Spires, 25, were reported in condition at Sherman Oaks Community Hospital. The other five injured firemen released after treatment for burns at county and Sherman Oaks hospitals.