Famous People Who Died in Aviation Accidents

Date/Time Person Location Aircraft Details Notes
Mar 28, 1950 Laurence Steinhart
57, U.S. ambassador
Ramsayville, Ontario, Canada Douglas C-47 Crashed in flames in a snow covered field. Enigne failure. 5 killed. One crew member parachuted to safetly.  
Aug 26, 1951 Bill Barilko
24, Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player
Near Cochrane, Ontario, Canada Fairchild 24 Crashed while returning from a fishing trip at James Bay with friend Henry Hudson.  Wreckage found 11 years later on June 6, 1962. 2 killed  
Jan 22, 1952 Robert Porter Patterson
60, Secretary of War under President Roosevelt
Elizabeth, New Jersey American Airlines
Flight 6780
Convair 240-0
Crashed into an apartment building during the approach. Official cause unknown. Possibly carburetor icing. All 23 aboard killed including 7 on the ground. details in
Mar 18, 1953
Richard E. Ellsworth
42, Brigadier General who Ellsworth Air Force Base is named after
Trinity Bay, Newfoundland Convair RB-36H Peacemaker
Flew into a hill while on a training mission from Lajes, Azores to Rapid City, South Dakota, All 23 aboard killed.  
Sep 1, 1953
Jacques Thibaud
72, French Violinist
Near Barcelonette, France Air France. 
Lockheed 749C Constellation
F-BAZZ  cn: 2674
Flew into Mt. Cemet in the French Alps.  All 42 aboard killed.  details in
Oct 29, 1953
William  Kapell
31, American pianist
Near Half Moon Bay, California British Com. 
Flight 304
Pacific AL
Douglas DC-6
VH-BPE  cn:43125
Crashed while on approach to SF airport. Pilot error. Crew failed to follow prescribed procedures for a instrument approach. All 19 aboard killed.  details in
Nov 30, 1953 Kimber "Kim" Sigler
59, Former Governor of Michigan
Battle Creek, Michigan Beechcraft Bonanza Crashed into a TV broadcast tower in fog while piloting his plane. All 4 aboard killed.  
Jan 10, 1954
Reginald "Chester" Wilmot
42, Australian broadcaster, correspondent
Elba, Italy de Havilland DH106 Comet
Broke up in midair due to a design flaw. All 35 people aboard killed.  
Jan 10, 1954
Thomas E. Braniff
71, Co-founder of Braniff Airways
Shreveport, Louisiana Grummand amphibian While on a hunting trip his plane crashed into a house on the shore of Lake Wallace shortly after taking off. Icing. All 12 aboard killed.  
Jun 30, 1954 R.W. Blackwood
Bill Lyles
33, gospel singers in the Blackwood Brothers Quartet
Clanton, Alabama Beech 18 During a practice landing the plane aborted the landing, stalled and  dove into the ground. Blackwood who was piloting the plane forgot to re-trim the tabs from landing to takeoff. All 3 aboard killed.  
Jul 1, 1954 John McBride
Alabama halfback
Kelly Air Force Base, Texas Army trainer Killed in an ROTC training flight. 2 killed.  
Oct 30, 1954 Wilbur Shaw
52, president Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Decatur, Indiana Cessna Crashed into a corn field and broke into pieces. All 3 aboard killed.  
Jul 31, 1955 Robert Francis
25, Actor
Burbank, California Beechcraft Bonanza The plane landed and then took off. The engine sputtered and the plane stalled and spun into the ground, bursting into flames. All 3 aboard killed. Appeared in the Caine Mutiny.  
Sep 20, 1956
Thomas Gastall
23, baseball player, Baltimore Orioles catcher
Riviera Beach, Maryland Aerocoupe The last message received from the plane was Gastall was trying to make an emergency crash landing into Chesapeake Bay.  His body was found 5 days later.  1 killed.  
Nov 24, 1956
Guido Cantelli
36, orchestra and opera conductor
Paris, France Linee Aeree Italiane
Douglas DC-6B
I-LEAD  cn:45075
Crashed during takeoff. Cause undetermined.  34 of 35 aboard killed. details in
Nov 27, 1956 Charlie Peete
27, baseball player, St. Louis Cardinal outfielder
Cevilla, Venezuela Linea Aeropostal Venezolana
Fight 253
Crashed into a 6,700 ft. mountain while on approach. Peete  was on his way to play winter ball in Venezuela.  All 25 aboard killed.  
Dec 9, 1956
Gordon Sturtridge, Mel Becket, Ray Syrnyk, Mario DeMarco, Calvin Jones
Canadian football players
Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada Trans Canada Air Lines
Canadair DC-4M-2 Northstar
Flight 810-9
cn: 128
The plane crashed into Mount Slesse after an engine caught fire and the plane experienced severe icing and turbulence. Five members of the Canadian Football League, returning from an all star game, were killed. Wreckage not found until May 10, 1957.  
Jan 31, 1957
Archie Twitchell
50, test pilot / actor
Sunland, California Douglas Aircraft
cn: 45192
Doublas DC-7B
Twitchell, a test pilot for Douglas Aircraft, was killed when the plane he was copiloting crashed and burned on it's first test flight after a midair collision with a U.S. Air Force jet fighter. Twitchell was also an accomplished actor. All 5 aboard the plane, 1 of 2 aboard the jet and 3 on the ground killed. details in
Mar 17, 1957
Ramon Magsaysay
50, president of the Philippines
Cebu, Philippines Philippine Air Force
Douglas C-47
Crashed into Mt. Manunggal while on a campaign tour for reelection. All 24 aboard killed. details in
Apr 15, 1957
Pedro Infante Cruz
39, Mexican actor, singer
Merida, Mexico TAMSA
B-24 Liberator
An engine failed on takeoff, causing the plane to spiral to the ground killing 2 on the ground as well as all occupants on the plane. Infante was co-piloting the plane. All 3 aboard killed.  
Feb 6, 1958
Manchester United football team Munich, Germany British European Airways 
Flight 609
Amb. A5-57
Unable to gain altitude, crashed at the end of the runway in a snowstorm. Controversy as to if the cause was ice on the wings or drag from slush on the runway. 23 of 44 aboard  killed. 8 team members killed.

details in
Mar 22, 1958
Mike Todd
49, film director and producer
Art Cohn
50, screenwriter
Grants, New Mexico Lockheed Loadstar
The aircraft crashed in an area of fog snow and thunderstorms.  Liz Taylor, his wife, stayed home ill with bronchitis. The plane was named The Lucky Liz. All 4 aboard including Art Cohn, his biographer were killed.

details in
Aug 14, 1958
c 3:45
Egyptian fencing team North Atlantic Ocean, 100 miles W. of Ireland KLM Flight 607E
Flight 607E
Lockheed Constellation
PH-LKM  cn:4841
Six member of the Egyptian fencing team were killed after the aircraft experienced overspeeding of the outer propeller. All 99 aboard killed.  details in database
Feb 3, 1959
c 01:00
Ritchie Valens,17
Buddy Holly, 22
Jiles "the Big Bopper" Richardson
, rock and roll singers
Mason City, Iowa Beechcraft Bonanza
Crashed shortly after taking off into poor weather conditions. The pilot was not IFR qualified and flying VFR. Possibly caused by spatial disorientation, unfamiliarity with the attitude indicator or icing. Valens got to go on the flip of a coin leaving Tommy Allsup behind. 4 killed, including pilot Roger Peterson.

details in
Mar 29, 1959
Barthélémy Boganda
49, president of the Central African Republic
Near Bangui Central African Republic Atlas flying boxcar The plane exploded in mid-air while on a flight from Berberati to Bangui. Speculation is the plane was shot down. All 9 aboard killed.  
Apr 29, 1959 Joaquin Blume
Spanish gymnastics champion
Valdemeca, Spain Iberian Airlines
EC-ABC  cn:19334
Crashed into the east slopes of Sierra de Valdemeca after being diverted due to poor weather.  All 28 aboard killed. details in


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