On January 3, 1953, a C-47 transport stationed at Donaldson Air
Force Base, South Carolina, was on a courier run from Newburgh, New
York to Donaldson AFB via Pope Air Force Base, Fayetteville, North
Carolina. The aircraft developed engine problem and the pilot tried
to make an emergency landing at Crabtree Creek State Park near
Raleigh, North Carolina. It ran into dense fog and rain and crashed,
killing three crew members.
From the source Findagrave:
Just before midnight on January 2, 1953, an Army C-47
transport plane crashed in Crabtree Park while attempting an
emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham Airport. The weather was
raining with dense fog. Three of the four crew members were
killed. The fourth member survived, T-Sgt. Edward Matus, who
walked to the airport, arriving at the Eastern Airlines office
at 1:00 a.m. He followed the "sounds of airplanes taking off."
He was rushed to Duke Hospital. The crash was the first fatal
airplane accident "since the airport came under civilian
operation in 1946." The plane was flying a "routine training
flight" from Stewart Air Force Base, in Newburg, NY, to
Donaldson Air Force Base, in Greenville, S.C, with a stop at
Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville. They attempted a landing a
Pope, but "visibility there was zero." They diverted to
Raleigh-Durham, where visibility "was about a one-quarter of a
mile." Their last radio contact with Pope was at 10:41 p.m.,
when the crew reported "icing at 9,000 feet."
Matus remembered being struck and falling to the floor in the
plane, then waking up in the wreckage. He followed the sounds of
airplanes to the airport. "Bleeding profusely despite a crude
tourniquet," the survivor stumbled into the nearly empty office.
He was "pale with shock and dazed." He couldn't tell from which
direction he had come. He was treated at the hospital for "shock
and multiple cuts." Wikipedia Photo The 100-person search party
included "police, Civil Air Patrol officials, and Air Force
investigators." After hours of searching, Highway Patrol
officers were sent to the hospital, to retrieve one of the
survivor's shoes. The lawmen also procured bloodhounds from the
"Cary prison farm." They attempted, though unsuccessfully, to
retrace the survivor's steps. None of the residents of the area
reported hearing a plane crash. Six hours after they started, a
25-member search party located the wreckage and the bodies of
the pilot, co-pilot, and navigator. The plane had crashed in
thick woods, some 1,000 yards from the park's picnic area. The
wings were sheared by the trees, and the tail section separated.
The area "reeked of high-octane gasoline" but there was no fire,
as the pilot had cut power. The plane's gear was down. The
wreckage was "less than two miles from the airport's control
The dead airmen were Capt. Louis R. Gossman, pilot, First Lt.
Norman W. Joyce, co-pilot, both of Donaldson Air Force Base, and
First Lt. Robert W. Shaw, of Pope Air Force Base. The area was
subsequently secured, though "crowds of curious persons" had
converged on the wreckage earlier, "picking up souvenirs from
the broken parts of the plane." Cars also jammed the gate at the
park entrance, and caused traffic problems on the highway. The
process of moving the wreckage started on January 4. (January 2,
- Gossman, Capt. Louis Richard (pilot) - See Biography
- Joyce, 1Lt. Norman W. (co-pilot) - See Biography section.
- Shaw, 1st Lieutenant Robert W. (navigator) -
Capt. Louis Richard Gossman
Captain Gossman was born January 07, 1922 of Burr Oak, Iowa.
He was married to Naomi Thomas Street (later Culpepper)
(1923-2013). He was survived by his wife and children,
Barbara Gossman (Frailey) and Dr. Richard Gossman. His
siblings were Irene Gossman Hardwick (1913-1995), Clair W.
Gossman (1915-2000), Mary Eloise Gossman Grebin (1917-2012), and
Gertrude "Trudy" Elizabeth Gossman Ellestad (1919-2017).
Captain Gossman is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Meridian,
1Lt. Norman W. Joyce
Lieutenant Joyce was born June 25, 1924. He and his
wife Myrtie Joyce were parents of a son Jerry Michael Joyce
(1949-1951). Both are buried in Oakland Cemetery,
1Lt. Robert W. Shaw
Lieutenant Shaw was the son of Alpheus E. and Amran D. Shaw.
He was born on September 26, 1925 and is buried in Shaw
Cemetery, Windsor, Massachusetts. He was a veteran of World War
II from Castleton, New York.