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lake Erie Incident

 

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slug  (B License)

Nov 24, 2003, 8:00 PM
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lake Erie Incident Can't Post

A DC-3/ Lodestar took off with a bunch of folks during low cloud cover conditions. Someone had made arrangements with ATC to monitor their radar and notify the pilot when the plane was over the DZ.

There was some confusion caused by a smaller plane circleing over the DZ which may have caused ATC to incorrectly locate the jumplane.

The exit point ended out over lake Erie and only a couple of folks made it back, while all the family members were waiting at the DZ for their loved one's.

Before my time loss of life was upper teens.Frown

R.I.P.


Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
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Nov 24, 2003, 8:07 PM
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Re: [slug] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

There is a very large multi-page article in this months Parachutist on this incident. Its worth checking out.


skypuppy  (D 347)

Nov 24, 2003, 8:47 PM
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Actually I don't know about Parachutist but there was one in the last Skydiving, and it was by Chuteless...


chuteless  (D 41)

Nov 25, 2003, 6:47 AM
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Re: [slug] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

On August 27th 1967, Bob Karns, who was a pilot working for Ortner Aviation at Wakeman Ohio, was giving a free jump from 20,000 ft + in a B-25 WW II bomber, to some jumpers who had jumped from that aircraft at an air show, for which Karns had been paid.

There was so many jumpers showed up at Ortner Field, the plane was overloaded to the extent that the nose wheel came up off the ground.

As a result, three or four jumpers were taken from the aircraft, and the rest were to make the jump.

The plane took off and began its long climb, disappearing into 100% cloud cover . Cloud base was about 4000 ft and the tops about 6000 feet.

A local jumper who should have known better, took off a bit later in a Cessna 180, and was planning to take 35mm still photos of the jumpers as they fell towards Ortner field.

Common sense should have made him realize that the jumpers would be passing his Cessna 180 like bullets, and he would not get any usable photos, and if they were far enough away from the Cessna, they would be nothing but tiny specks in his viewfinder.

The plane reached altitude, and the pilot (Bob Karns) received confirmation that the aircraft was directly over Ortner field. The radar screen was showing a blip at that spot ( actually it was the Cessna 180) and Karns turned and waved the jumpers out the bomb bay doors. Jimmy Simmons was first to go, and the others followed like they were tied on a long string.

There was a total of 18 jumpers, and Bob Coy (one of the survivors) told me later they had a real blast getting together and just flying....until they approached the dark clouds at 6K.

As the jumpers came through the clouds, they were faced with a rainstorm and the fact that they were 5 miles out over Lake Erie.

They opened the chutes immediately, hoping to make it closer to shore. I believe everyone had Para-Commanders, and although its a great canopy, it doesnt fly like a square...not even close.

Few made any headway, and prepared to ditch in the lake, which was 72 degrees F.

Norm Allard had two jumpsuits on because of the cold at altitude, but he managed to get them off, except for the altimeter pinning them both to his wrist. Thats how they found him.

Bill Onyska had the only piece of flotation gear, which he inflated, but the CO2 went out a small hole
that had gone unnoticed in the device...and it was useless.

BoB Coy, tried using his packed reserve as floatation, but it soon became waterlogged, and he discarded it, and then he tried to lay on his helmet which had styrofoam inside. That probably saved his life.

A search was quickly started, and over the next 5 days, they collected all the bodies from the lake.

A boat had been brought alongside a jumper named Johnson, and the boat then drove off leaving him in the lake. It is possible the guy was a smuggler or out for a cruise with someone elses wife and didnt want to get involved. A second boat rescued Johnson.

Para Commanders were floating on the lake...with no one in the harness, or near them. Several were cut to pieces by boat propellers and founds later.

My best friend, Joe Malarik was the last to be found. Oddly enough, Joe had been in a bar the night before with his girldfriend Barb and another guy, and he said that when he died, he would prefer to drown. He did so the very next day.

When Joe was a young boy, he drowned in a swimming pool, but was revived. He thought it would be the best way to go.

The B-25 aircraft, made another circuit, and again was told by Oberlin Tower that it was directly over Ortner Field, and Larry Hartman and Al Olmstead jumped, wearinmg oxygen masks and bottles.

The Cessna hand landed by this time, and the B-25 was in fact, over the target area.

Hartman noticed through a small hole in the clouds, one of the airport runways, and he pointed to it for Olmstead. They tracked over, and landed on the airport.

By this time, the accident was known, and everyone got involved in the search.

Dale Gates of the Parkman DZ, flew his Cessna a few feet above the choppy waves of the lake, trying to spot survivors, but none were seen.

In all 16 jumpers died that day.

The following Sunday while at the DZ in Parkman, I was asked to take photos of a young lad in freefall after he would make one more good jump alone. I agreed, and when the young lad jumped ( Paul Camelford) he went right into the ground.

He had concentrated on holding his heading so much, he never attempted to get his main out.

That made 17 dead over the two weekends.

Even now when I think about it, I get quite upset inside.


Two weekends before the B-25 flight, I had been filming many of these guys at Parkman, and I later gave copies of the 16mm film to their families.

They told me it was like having their son back again.....even if only on film.

One thing that came out of this, was I conducted tests that showed a canopy (especially one of 0 porosity) can have a portion of it inflated by scooping air inside it, and it will act like a large beach ball in an emergency, and keep a person afloat for quite awhile. It may be necessary to inflate a portion of the canopy several times before one is rescued...but when you have nothing else, that may be your only hope.

Keep that in mind.

Bill Cole D-41 Canada



PLEASE STAY SAFE !!!


(This post was edited by chuteless on Nov 25, 2003, 6:50 AM)


w4p2  (Student)

Nov 25, 2003, 1:56 PM
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Re: [chuteless] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank You for telling the history of the tragedy. There are many of us that have not access to the magazines mentioned, and the history of the incident while posted here serves, as a remainder of realities, as well as tribute to the persons that lost their lives.

Kind Regards: JL


tbrown  (D 6533)

Dec 8, 2003, 7:30 PM
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Re: [w4p2] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing to keep in mind is that when you're 8 miles from shore, having a square is no advantage over the rounds those folks were jumping. Bottom line is still that we shouldn't jump if we can't see where we're getting out.


racerman  (C 18409)

Oct 25, 2005, 6:37 PM
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Re: [chuteless] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

I was seven years old when this accident occured and had been going to Parkman for almost a year. (badgering my parens to take me), and had actually
known some of the jumpers. I remember the somber tone over the drop zone when I went to watch the following weekend and how empty it seemed. Nine years later I was hanging off the strut of Dale's C-180 after taking the FCJ taught by Lou (Lucinda)


chuteless  (D 41)

Oct 27, 2005, 10:16 AM
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Re: [racerman] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

My gosh, those were the days.

One week after the guys drowned, Paul Camelford (age 16) was making his 13th jump, and I was to photograph him on his 14th. Paul asked me the night before about holding a heading in FF. I told him, use a road or tree line.

He left Dale's C 180, and corrected to hold on Mumford Rd. He held it all the way to the ground, never bothered to pull.

It seems he got mezmerized and concentrated so hard, he just held it, didnt bother looking at his altimeter, and thumped in.

That was two sad weekends ina row.

Bill Cole D-41


patrick076

May 31, 2010, 10:51 PM
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Re: [chuteless] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

indeed it is sad to know this but all of us will leave this world in unpredictable manner


chuteless  (D 41)

Jun 2, 2010, 12:46 PM
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Re: [patrick076] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

It is nice to know that those guys will continue to be remembered.

It would be 43 years this August 27th that the jump took place. Those guys would all be in their 70s by now, like me at 77+.

I had photos at one time of the B-25 as it was overloaded with jumpers and they had to kick about 4 guys off so the nose wheel would be on the tarmac.

I have no idea who got bounced off the load, but if they are still alive, it shows how fate deals the hand for each of us.

Bill aka Chuteless


WGore  (D 3379)

Jun 10, 2010, 6:51 AM
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Re: [chuteless] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
It is nice to know that those guys will continue to be remembered.

It would be 43 years this August 27th that the jump took place. Those guys would all be in their 70s by now, like me at 77+.

I had photos at one time of the B-25 as it was overloaded with jumpers and they had to kick about 4 guys off so the nose wheel would be on the tarmac.

I have no idea who got bounced off the load, but if they are still alive, it shows how fate deals the hand for each of us.

Bill aka Chuteless

Paul Ritchie, Ed Schmitt, Bob Pierson were 3 of the guys from the Cincinnati area. Bob has been gone for several years now from cancer. The 4th may have been Dave Ellis, also gone.
I saw Paul and Ed last January at a reunion and both are doing well.


chuteless  (D 41)

Jun 10, 2010, 7:28 AM
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Re: [WGore] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

Regarding the GORE post about the guys from Cincinnati....but they were not involved with the Lake Erie tragedy in 1967. I know the names of every person on that flight, and knew and jumped with all but two of them personally, and the guys listed in that GORE post were not there.

Bill Cole


(This post was edited by chuteless on Jun 10, 2010, 7:30 AM)


piisfish

Jun 10, 2010, 7:30 AM
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Re: [chuteless] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

Dear Bill , as I understand it, the 4 people named there were the 4 who were disembarked prior to taxiing as the plane was too heavy


chuteless  (D 41)

Jun 10, 2010, 7:40 AM
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Re: [piisfish] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

I had heard the names mentioned, and dont recall them after all the time that has passed.

I have newspaper accounts of the whole event, and I believe the names of those who were bounced is in the newspaper articles. I'll have to look them up to see who they were.

Thanks for the tip.

Bill


WGore  (D 3379)

Jun 14, 2010, 12:33 PM
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Re: [chuteless] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

  I was in the Army at the time or would have been there as well. I talked to a friend that was around at the time and Dave Ellis was not the 4th, but I really don't know why the other 3 would have lied about it.
They said that they waited for awhile to try and make another load and when the airplane didn't return in a reasonable time they headed back to Cincy. They heard about the screw up on the radio about the time they got to Columbus.


howardwhite  (C 3896)

Jun 14, 2010, 12:43 PM
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Re: [chuteless] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a lot of articles too, and can look them up.
I've posted stuff about this here. .
The B-25 was sold to a group at Turners Falls, MA, but the FAA never allowed it to be used for jumping. It sat around, deteriorating, for about two years, then was sold again.
The ferry pilot flew it to Orange, MA, to practice landings; he was not at all current. It crashed, killing him-- the only occupant.

HW


(This post was edited by howardwhite on Jun 14, 2010, 12:47 PM)


WGore  (D 3379)

Jun 14, 2010, 12:48 PM
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Re: [howardwhite] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

Howard, here is what you posted in 09 on the same incident.



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Mar 30, 2009, 11:56 AM

Post #18 of 19 (803 views)

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Re: [WGore] Lake Erie B25 -- long [In reply to] Quote | Reply
In Reply To
IIRC the 3 guys thrown off were Bob Pierson, Paul Ritchie, and I believe Dave Ellis.
Two outa three ain't bad. The third (according to the local paper) was Edward Schmitt.

HW




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Mar 30, 2009, 12:38 PM

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Re: [howardwhite] Lake Erie B25 -- long [In reply to] Quote | Reply
Lot of brain cells killed since then. But that does come back now that you mention it.I vaguely remember a picture from a paper of the 3 of them that somebody sent me while I was in AIT. I can't remember if they were in front of the B-25 or one of the guys car.


GUNFIRE, The sound of Freedom!


captain1976  (D 7183)

Jun 14, 2010, 6:05 PM
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Re: [howardwhite] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I have a lot of articles too, and can look them up.
I've posted stuff about this here. .
The B-25 was sold to a group at Turners Falls, MA, but the FAA never allowed it to be used for jumping. It sat around, deteriorating, for about two years, then was sold again.
The ferry pilot flew it to Orange, MA, to practice landings; he was not at all current. It crashed, killing him-- the only occupant.

HW


Howard, I didn't start until 1972 but it was talked about even then. I met a guy in Florida (actually the guy who was building my house) who was supposedly a survivor. His name was Bob Coy. Any lights go on with that name?


Erroll

Jun 15, 2010, 3:28 AM
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Re: [captain1976] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Howard, I didn't start until 1972 but it was talked about even then. I met a guy in Florida (actually the guy who was building my house) who was supposedly a survivor. His name was Bob Coy. Any lights go on with that name?

From post #4 upthread:
Quote:
BoB Coy, tried using his packed reserve as floatation, but it soon became waterlogged, and he discarded it, and then he tried to lay on his helmet which had styrofoam inside. That probably saved his life.


captain1976  (D 7183)

Jun 15, 2010, 7:01 PM
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Re: [Erroll] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Howard, I didn't start until 1972 but it was talked about even then. I met a guy in Florida (actually the guy who was building my house) who was supposedly a survivor. His name was Bob Coy. Any lights go on with that name?

From post #4 upthread:
Quote:
BoB Coy, tried using his packed reserve as floatation, but it soon became waterlogged, and he discarded it, and then he tried to lay on his helmet which had styrofoam inside. That probably saved his life.

Thanks for the confirm. Bob saw some of my skydiving pix and awards when he came back for some finishing touches on the house.

He also told me a story about the guy in the boat who slowed down and just drove by the waving skydivers looking for help.

Still pisses me off to this day. To me that guy was a killer and I could personally drown someone like that without remorse.


danornan  (D 11308)

Jun 16, 2010, 5:13 AM
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Re: [captain1976] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

I know Bob Coy and his son pretty well because his son is the Diving Safety Officer at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, where I'm a safety diver.

Both met up with me, several years ago, at Z-Hills to watch landings from the back deck. It was Bob's first trip back to a DZ since that accident 40 + years ago and quite an experience to share with his son. I dive (SCUBA) with Bob and his son pretty regularly and Bob still loves to talk about skydiving whenever we are together and how it has changed since that horrible day.

We've only spoken about the accident several times and the first was when his son introduced us and told his dad that I was a skydiver! I didn't know that Bob was on that airplane before he told me the story and it was hard to keep from asking lots of questions. He is a super nice man and his son has been scheduled for a tandem that he hasn't taken yet.


chuteless  (D 41)

Jun 16, 2010, 7:23 AM
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Re: [howardwhite] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

Howard: The plane when used for the drop which ended up in Lake Erie was owned by Bob Karns, who later flew me on my first chuteless jump in a Twin Beech aircraft.

Bob was a terrific guy, and he was suspended from flying for 1 year by the FAA, but he kept on flying with a student ( but qualified pilot ) beside him in any aircraft he used.

Bob was later killed in a flying accident at Detroit airport.

I spoke with Bob Coy just after the jump, and he did in fact lay on his helmet for floatation. Al Johnson was the guy who a boat drove around, and then took off.It was suggested that he was either smuggling from the USA to Canada or he was out with some other guys wife.

Years later ( about the late 1980s), someone found a Para Commander which had over the years been torn to shreds, which had washed up on the Lake Erie shoreline. Someone said it had belonged to Lyle Boyer. His canopy was red and white, and I had taken 16mm color film of his opening at the parkman DZ., two weeks to the day , before the Lake Erie jump on Aug 27th .


(This post was edited by chuteless on Jun 16, 2010, 7:23 AM)


Cine22

Jul 8, 2010, 10:02 PM
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Hi Friends, I am Cine and I have read your site in a very deep and I would like to appreciate you on this brilliant effort. You have provided some thing so much different that I can't have words for thanks.


captain1976  (D 7183)

Jul 9, 2010, 9:55 AM
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Re: [chuteless] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Years later ( about the late 1980s), someone found a Para Commander which had over the years been torn to shreds, which had washed up on the Lake Erie shoreline. Someone said it had belonged to Lyle Boyer. His canopy was red and white, and I had taken 16mm color film of his opening at the parkman DZ., two weeks to the day , before the Lake Erie jump on Aug 27th .
I think Billy Weber was the one who found it and ironically he's a skydiver.


zoobrothertom  (D 9397)

Jul 10, 2010, 5:23 PM
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Re: [Cine22] lake Erie Incident [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Cine22,

I notice you're new to DZ.Com. Are you related to some of the jumpers that perished?

If you are okay with it, could you tell us your story?

Regards


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