September 14, 2015

Military Monday - Stratotanker Crash, 1958

From an article published in the February 2, 1958 edition of the Morgantown Dominion News in Morgantown, West Virginia:

MDN - 2/2/1958

Stratotanker Crash Reported
Winnsboro, La. Feb 4 (UP)

A KC 97 Stratotanker crashed in a swamp near the Catahoula Parish line tonight about 10 miles southeast of here, state police reported five men were believed to be aboard.

A Monroe, La. Civil Aeronautics Administration official said the pilot of the big tanker, used to refuel Strategic Air Command B47 and B52 planes in flight, radioed that he was losing altitude and would attempt a crash landing at Monroe Airport.

However, a pilot for a Southern Airways plane en route to New Orleans, said he saw the big tanker crash into a swamp near the Catahoula Parish line.

State police and parish deputies said it was not known if any crew members bailed out of the aircraft before it crashed.

The earlier C-97 Stratofreighter model was a cargo/transport carrier.  Boeing overhauled this earlier model to include the 'flying boom' in-flight refueling system and introduced the KC-97 in 1950.  The KC-97 allowed the United States Air Force to continue to use the heavy carrier for transport without removing the in-flight refueling system.

KC-97 / USAF Museum

The video below shows the KC-97 refueling a B47 in 1957:

I have been unable to find any other record of the reported 1958 crash near Catahoula Parish.

Please leave a comment or email me at if you remember hearing about this crash back in 1958 or if you have any information on the location of the crash, crew members' names, or fate of the crew.

Air Mobility Command Museum
USAF Museum

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