Explosion/Crash in Langford, New York
Disaster or Miracle?
c April 2005 Linda Munro
For the forty fifth anniversary of the explosion / crash of the B-47 Bomber over the tiny hamlet of Langford, NY, in the Town of North Collins, County of Erie, State of New York; I wrote an updated article for the local newspaper concerning not only the crash, but the recollections of eyewitnesses [from original newspaper articles] and their recollections today. I also found eyewitnesses to the event who had not been interviewed for either newspaper articles or by investigators after the explosion/crash. I was amazed to find that the memories of eyewitnesses were nearly word for word what had been originally reported. I was shocked to learn that many of these witnesses had never been contacted. [ links To Newspaper Articles]
I have, in the past, worked with law enforcement people of every caliber, one of the things that law enforcement relates is that eyewitnesses, over time change their stories for a number of reasons; including the fact that memories fade. One must also realize that relating memories as conspiracy theory also leads to misappropriate detail, embellished detail, etc. I have often thought of this crash on the conspiracy theory level for I have had great difficulty with government officials in obtaining documentation. After forty five years, I was stunned to listen to newly taped interviews of persons who had been interviewed by reporters and reading the initial report; how was it that these people had such vivid, non-fading memories of this incident?
I had to learn why these memories seemed so vivid to all of the persons that I interviewed, so I turned to an expert: Greg McCrary, a 25-year FBI veteran and one of the world's most experienced profilers of violent criminals. According to McCrary, the difference between normal memories and memories associated with traumatic experiences, such as the Bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the explosion/crash of 1958; “rather than the memories being hard to recall, these memories become difficult to forget.” These memories are similar to those in people suffering Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Looking at the facts via original interviews, we see the same story repeated throughout, with slight variations. One person claimed that two planes crashed together. One person claimed to see another plane. One person felt that he saw a burning parachute falling amongst the debris. Please note, I have deleted the names from the original interviews, please feel free to click on any of the newspaper reports to see exactly who said what.
Taken from several interviews, I have utilized what others reported to describe what was seen in 1958. Several Western New Yorkers saw a plane in the sky. Whether or not the plane was extremely low, no one states in their accounts; why they noticed the aircraft could have been one of several reasons, it may have been flying relatively low in the sky, it may have been due to the lesser air traffic during that era, it could have been the noise produced by the aircraft. The fact is, several persons saw the craft, but few noticed a second aircraft that was flying nearby. According to official documents, this aircraft was on a refueling mission, the second aircraft had been readying to refuel the plane at the time of the explosion.
Many noted a bright light; the light was described as intense, and blinding. One eyewitness described the light as intense red-yellow light. This appears to be the actual explosion, although some eyewitnesses fail to notice the light, they notice smoke and then the aircraft falling in two separate sections. One of the younger eyewitnesses accounts for the second piece of wreckage as being a plane itself. According to his report, his brother had yelled; “Those two planes are going to crash. Just as I looked up they did collide. Then there was a terrific explosion and they separated. The flames went out and started again in both pieces of wreckage.” Each of the eyewitnesses described the clouds of smoke. Some say they saw flames as well, others claimed to see the smoke which broke apart and fell in two separate pieces.
Later interviews found many persons who assimilated similar stories, with the exception of one woman who had been twelve years old at the time. The explosion/crash occurred mid-week, and the eyewitness has no recollection as to why she would not have been in school on that day. She does recall being outside in her yard, she claims that the aircraft caught her attention because she heard it before she saw it. She said it appeared to be having difficulties, and it barely cleared the tree tops as it flew towards where she stood. According to her account, she could actually see the faces of the crew members looking at her, to this day, this eyewitness feels that the crew of the aircraft was in trouble and attempting to land, when they noticed her, they did their best to regain control and land elsewhere; they never had that chance as they headed away from her, the aircraft exploded.
Do I believe this account? I have been asked that very question by many persons who read the forty fifth anniversary article. My answer is yes, I totally believe this eyewitness. By far, she did not make up the story; you can tell by the emotion on her face and in her voice. She also did a very good job describing the pilot of the aircraft [I had obtained a photo of the pilot; this was never in the local newspapers.] I cannot be positive that the pilot actually saw her and was attempting to save her life, but I am positive that the pilot realized that he and his crew were in immense danger and did everything in his power to create the least ground damage.
The aircraft exploded over the tiny hamlet of Langford, NY; population approximately 150 persons. This is an old village, established in the nineteenth century; houses within the hamlet itself are extremely close together. The hamlet itself is approximately two miles long and one half mile wide, once you leave the hamlet you fall into the rural farmland. The aircraft fell from the sky, wing sections landing in the back yards of persons within the hamlet. Engines landed in farmers fields, yet there was no structural damage or personal injury on the ground.
Four men lost their lives on this bright, sunny April morning in 1958. Hundreds of people have memories which will never ever let them loose. The military continuously moves the records of this crash from one archive to another. I have been denied access to the entire record concerning this explosion crash due to national security. Of course, that fact alone has kept my research going. Despite all of these factors, I believe that even the hardest skeptic needs to look at this disaster as a miracle in disguise. The damage could have been much worse, an entire hamlet could have been wiped out; persons, including young children could have been killed; yet the only injury/ life loss was explicitly on the aircraft and outside of some farmland damage where the debris scattered, there was no other damage.
I will probably continue to look into this matter until the day I pass into the next realm of life, but I will always believe that a miracle lay hidden in the debris.
Search For More Information:
First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America
TWA Flight 800: Explosion in Midair