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The Huntington Herald-Dispatch

Huntington, West Virginia, HERALD-DISPATCH, 11 October 1931, page 1

Mysterious Crash Stirs Valley Folk

Residents of the Ohio valley in the vicinity of Gallipolis had an aerial mystery to puzzle over as they retired last night.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Henke and Robert McKenzie, all of Gallipolis, reported having seen a dirigible cross the Ohio river near Gallipolis, travel southward over the West Virginia hills, then buckle in the air and burst into flames. They told Dr. Charles E. Holzer they had seen one parachute leave the blimp an instant before it buckled and two others open up just as a flash of flame appeared. Dr. Holzer estimated the point was 10 miles south of Gallipolis, a sparsely settled area.

First reports said it was the Akron but word received from the home port of the giant airship was that it had been berthed safely after a 12-hour flight over the Detroit area.

Dr. Holzer, owner of the Gallipolis airport, said he would send Lieut. Eckford Hodgson, flier from his field, over the area early today. Because of the wild territory in which the crash was reported efforts to further check the reports proved futile last night. All blimps at Akron had been accounted for.


Huntington, West Virginia, HERALD-DISPATCH, 12 October 1931, page 1

MYSTERIES of the deep sea are as old as navigation and have furnished both history and fiction with some of their wierdest stories. But, until recent years, mysteries of the skies were for theologians and metaphysicians. Now the azure realms develop human stories of adventure and occasionally of mystery. Saturday afternoon, according to numerous persons, a dirigible airship floating over the West Virginia hills back of Point Pleasant burned, buckled and fell. So definite were the reports that for 24 hours or more airplanes circled above while groups on foot searched the land for the wreck. Nothing was found. No report of a missing blimp was received. The search was abandoned but puzzled men and women still testify they saw the fire and the crash. There's mystery for you; perhaps it was a phantom blimp?


Huntington, West Virginia, HERALD-DISPATCH, 12 October 1931, page 1

MYSTERY BLIMP SOUGHT VAINLY FROM AIR, LAND

Searching Parties Scour Hills For Big Ship, Reported Fallen

MISHAP REPORTS ARE REITERATED

Gallipolis Residents Describes Mishap As Seen From Distance

Mystery last night continued to enshroud the reported buckling and burning of a blimp in the West Virginia mountains near Point Pleasant Saturday afternoon about 2:50 o'clock.

Searching parties on foot and in airplanes yesterday scoured the hills in the vicinity of Gallipolis Ferry, where the object believed to have been a blimp was seen falling, but their efforts were unavailing. Nothing was found to indicate a mishap.

Official search for the ship was abandoned last night by the various parties.

Meanwhile, residents of Gallipolis reiterated that they had seen the big ship buckle in midair, some saying that it burst into flames.

Describes Mishap

Mrs. R. P. Henke, of Gallipolis, one of those who told of seeing the ship, last night described the mishap, as seen from a distance, for the Herald-Dispatch.

"We, like many others in Gallipolis were waiting to glimpse the Akron, which was reported heading for Huntington Saturday afternoon, when we caught sight of the ship on the opposite side of the river over the mountains. It seemed to buckle and fall. Some who saw it said that four persons jumped with parachutes. There seemed to be some smoke surrounding the object, but it may have been clouds that we saw."

Harold McKenzie, and Mrs. Claude Parker, residents of Gallipolis, and a number of people residing on the river road, also reported witnessing the reported mishap.

Dr. Charles Holzer, owner of the Gallipolis airport, and prominent surgeon, said that several responsible citizens of unquestioned integrity told him of seeing the craft in flames.

The belief that something must have occurred was strengthened by the number of persons who told of seeing the supposed crash.

A check up of all airports in the region, however, disclosed that all airships were accounted for. The Akron, it was said, was unable to make the scheduled jump to Huntington, where it was scheduled to circle Fairfield Stadium for the crowd attending the Washington & Jefferson-Marshall football game.

Searching parties, however, were undaunted in their efforts by the reported safety of all ships. They continued to search until early evening yesterday, but finally gave up the search when no evidence of a mishap of any character was found.

Pilot Scans Hills

A party headed by Sheriff H. E. Burdette, of Mason county, went into the woods early yesterday morning, and returned to Point Pleasant at dawn. Other unofficial parties continued to search during the day.

First of the airplane searches was made shortly after dawn by Lieut. Eckford Hodgson, pilot at the Gallipolis airport. He zig-zagged over a 20-mile square wooded area for approximately an hour and a half flying at an altitude of 6,800 feet, but found nothing. He also made two other vain flights for sight of the mishap. Last night he decided to search no more.

State trooper H. E. Pomroy and other members of the state police checked reports of various persons who reported having seen the blimp fall after white spots were seen drifting down from it. Pomroy made an additional ground search, and last night announced that state police had abandoned their efforts.

Stanley B. Huntington, manager of the Gallipolis airport, said the "white things" seen floating downward from the blimp shortly after it passed over Gallipolis headed south, may have been water, explaining that most blimps carried water ballast and that it might have been found necessary to lighten the ship quickly by dropping the ballast.

A report that the blimp may have been that of the Enna Jettick Shoe Co., of Auburn, N. Y., was disproved late last night when it was learned that it was flying between Rochester and Buffalo and was not in West Virginia. The Enna Jettick blimp is commanded by Major Wadworth and has two pilots.

 
 
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