Nebraska WWII Fatal Crash Site # 7
July 19, 1943
During the middle of the night, a C-53D transport plane (42-68801) was flying between Des Moines, Iowa, and Alliance, Nebraska. The plane met a strong thunderstorm with high winds and lightning near Malcolm. The exact cause of the crash is unknown, but it was thought the plane was either struck by lightning or flew into the ground due to pilot disorientation. The plane exploded into a huge fireball and scattered wreckage over one quarter mile in all directions. All thirteen airmen were instantly killed.
The crash site was visited on March 10, 2007, along with the assistance a older eyewitness. The exact site was verified by the discovery of wreckage in a cultivated field with a metal detector.
A 90-year-old witness to the crash, Clarence Luebbe, gets to relive the event.
This 99-year-old eyewitness, Julius Dargel, lived closest to the crash and was one of the first to arrive at the scene.
He was interviewed twice before his death on January 7, 2008.
Crash Site Book