B-47 Crashes Near Follett Texas – 8/19/58


An air force staff sergeant, stationed at Briggs air force base, El Paso, was killed Tuesday evening in the crash of a strategic air command 6-engine B-47 near Follett.

Three other crew members were ejected out of the huge bomber as it exploded about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The plane crashed on the farms of Sam Laubhan and Cornelius Kliewer, 1/2 mile west and one mile south of Follett.

The entire northwest sky was lighted with a huge glow Tuesday night as the bomber exploded.

The disaster took place during a thunder storm in that area which later moved through this northwest area.

Found dead about midnight Tuesday night was S-Sgt. Roy K. Schell who went down with the plane. Injured and hospitalized briefly in the Newman Memorial hospital were the other three crew members.

The pilot of the craft was Capt. Robert E. Held. Lt. James E. Cason was co-pilot, and Lt. Norman E. Hermes was navigator. The latter was the most seriously injured of the three.

He was treated for a dislocation of the right hip, shock, minor contusions and abrasions. He was given a blood transfusion at the local hospital.

The other two members suffered mild shock, numerous abrasions and contusions.

The three crew members were transferred to the Amarillo air force base hospital about 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The bomber was on a routine flight from its base at El Paso and had just finished refueling as it approached the thunderstorm.

Capt. Held said he smelled fumes just before the plane exploded and crashed. Wreckage from the plane was scattered over an area of about one mile.

Air force officials were investigating the wreck to determine the cause and in the meantime moved in a contingent to help clean up the area.

The thunderstorm which the bomber ran into later moved into this area with violence, leaving at least two inches of rain in some places.