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Altoona Mirror Newspaper Archive: September 9, 1994 - Page 1

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Publication: Altoona Mirror

Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania

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   Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - September 9, 1994, Altoona, Pennsylvania                                Waterskier beats A QB duel in Happy Altoona trrot September 50 cents US Air crash hits home Former vo-tech director among the dead By Walt Frank Staff Writer The former director of the Altoona Area Vo-Tech Daniel A. Clark and two middle manage- ment employees of a Johnstown manufacturer were among the 131 passengers killed Thursday night when USAir Flight 427 crashed near Aliquippa. Clark, 62, of Lower Brush Mountain Road in Hollidays- burg, was returning from a business trip to Chicago, his wife Rosella said. She knew her husband had a reservation for the flight but did not receive official word of his death until 2 a.m. today. She learned of the crash as she was leaving to pick up her husband at Blair County Airport, she said. Clark would have been a pas- senger on USAir Express' connec- tor flight, which arrived at p.m. Thursday at the Martins- burg airport. Also killed in the crash were Thomas Szczur, 42, of Johnstown, section foreman of fabrication, and David Mirilovich, 38, project engineer at Johnstown America Corp., which manufactures rail- road freight cars. Said Vo-tech Executive Director Walter Kearney: "This school would not be here today and would not be offering to the the kids these programs without Dan Clark." He built and equipped the school. "Because of Dan Clark all of this Kearney said. Kearney and Clark both grew up in Juniata. They played together and Kearney knew him See Clark on Page A2 Clark 131 perish when jet crashes near Pittsburgh The Associated Press After several hours of agonizing uncertainty, a woman hugs her mother Thursday as she arrives at International Airport in Chicago. The %voman was flying on a USAir flight out of Pittsburgh. Her flight to Chicago left the Pittsburgh airport just as a Chicago to Pittsburgh flight crashed nearby. ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (AP) The plane banked to the right, rolled a few times and headed straight down. There was a muffled boom, then the sky turned bright with flames as a black cloud of smoke mushroomed into the air. It was "like the whole world was said one witness to the USAir jetliner nose-dive into a ravine Thursday. All 131 people aboard Flight 427 were killed in the deadliest crash in the United States since 1987 and USAir's fifth fatal crash in as many years. "I haven't seen anything like it since World War said James Albert, chairman of the Beaver County Commission. "I was in the infantry, and I saw a lot of bad stuff, but this looks like somebody went through with a giant claw." The USAir flight originated in Chicago and was to stop in Pitts- burgh before continuing to West Palm Beach, Fla. Air traffic controllers lost con- tact with the plane when it was about seven miles from the air- port, said Pat Boyle, a spokesman for the Allegheny County Depart- ment of Aviation. There was no indication of a problem on the flight. Investigators hoped to gain some clues from the plane's black box, which records flight data. An emergency worker said the box was recovered. The Boeing 737-300 crashed in a rocky, heavily wooded ravine 10 miles from Pittsburgh Interna- tional Airport, an area of Beaver County bsist known for producing tough-as-nails steelworkers and such football stars as Tony Dorsett and Mike Ditka. A pilot, nurse and paramedic landed in a medical helicopter and walked through the site moments after the crash. They saw body parts hangings from trees and baggage strewn every- where. "It was total said Jim Bothwell, director of opera- tions for the STAT MedEvac heli- copter service. "The airplane was in a million pieces and the people inside were in pieces." Firemen fought their way to the scene through trees and down treacherous terrain, but there was no road to transport heavy vehicles. As dusk fell and it became clear there were no survivors, emer- gency coordinators imported four- wheel drives, dune buggies and chainsaws to patch together a makeshift road so federal investi- gators could bring in sophisticat- See Crash on Page A2 Terror, confusion shatter picture-perfect day ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (AP) was the muffled sound of an explosion that sounded like a backfire in the sky, the smell of fuel in the air, then silence. At a shopping center 10 miles from the Pittsburgh International Airport, every- one knew a plane was in trouble. A store clerk screamed, and ran into the parking lot. Shoppers followed, searching the sky above for the plane. They saw only a trail of smoke leading into a hilly ravine, not far from a junk- yard and only a half-mile from a soccer field where a group of 12-year-olds were playing a league game. A plane was down. "The heat .and smoke were so intense you couldn't see said Linda Dickhart, a nearby resident. "I thought-it was coming through my roof." It was just past dinner time on a clear, picture-perfect late summer night, and local highways were still busy with traf- fic to and from the airport, shopping plazas and restaurants. Many cars immediately began heading for the site, slowing the dozens of emer- gency crews, firemen and ambulances headed to the scene. Doctors tried to get to get to the crash site, but before they could fight their way through the traffic and confusion, word was filtering back from the first rescuers to reach the scene. The news wasn't good. Rescuers gathered atop the hill, near several middle-class homes in an area of Beaver County best known for producing tough-as-nails steelworkers and football See Terror on Page A2 USAir flights are on schedule at Altoona-Blair County airport USAJr counter agents took many anxious calls Thursday. By Linda Hudkins Staff Writer MARTINSBURG A USAir flight rose into blue skies this morning from the Altoona-Blair County Airport as Clarence Hostler of Bellwood watched his son and daughter-in-law depart for Seattle. By all appearances it was busi- ness as usual at the airport this morning despite the crash of a USAir Pight in Pittsburgh Thurs- day evening, taking the life of an Altoona resident and 130 other passengers. Airport Manager Jim Oswald said all flights at the local airport have been operating as scheduled since the crash. Flight 4110 arrived from Pittsburgh about 9 p.m. This morning, a plane left carry- ing a Tipton couple to Pittsburgh for a connecting flight to Seattle. Hostler watched as the flight tax- ied Into the sun, then took off in the opposite direction. There were no changes in the schedule of the flight that departed about 8 a.m., Hostler said. His son and daughter-in-law had not been informed there was any problem at the Pittsburgh airport, despite the crash of Flight 
                            

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