August 2, 1943

Deadly Glider Crash at Lambert Field
SAINT LOUIS, Mo.—Mayor William Dee Becker and nine others were killed in the crash of a military glider yesterday afternoon at Lambert Airfield. The mayor and four city and county officials were riding in the glider for a demonstration before a gathered crowd there to see the first public viewing of the new troop-carrying aircraft. Also killed in the crash was Major William B. Robertson, the aviation pioneer who owned the company that constructed the glider. The wings of the glider collapsed at an altitude of fifteen hundred feet, and the craft plummeted to the ground. One of the gathered crowed, Joseph C. Payne of Saint Louis, told reporters, “There was a splintering noise and both wings seemed to fall away; at that moment, the tow cable snapped, and the fuselage dropped like a rock.” Army officials seized film from the cameras of reporters who witnessed the accident. Unofficial reports indicate all gliders manufactured by the Robertson Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation are grounded until structural integrity of the design is verified.

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