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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 11713
Last updated: 16 March 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic PA27 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-23-250 Aztec
Owner/operator:Berness Herbert
Registration: N5823Y
C/n / msn: 27-2971
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Indian Head, near Connellsville, Fayette County, PA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Connellville, Airport, Harrisburg, PA
Destination airport:Uniontown, PA
Investigating agency: NTSB
Piper PA-23-250 Aztec N5823Y: Written off (destroyed) May 8 1966 when crashed at Indian Head, PA, killing all four on board (pilot and three passengers). Aircraft collided with trees. Recovery date on wreckage 5/9/66. Pilot cancelled IFR flight plan enroute, stated he would continue flight as VFR.

Among the deceased were Attorney General Walter E. Alessandroni, and his wife, Ethel.As a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, was flying to a planned campaign speech in a twin-engine Aztec plane, in rainy and snowy weather, when the plane crashed near Connellsville, Fayette County, Pa., May 8, 1966 (age 51 years, 132 days).

According to a contemporary newspaper report (Chicago Tribune (IL) - May 10, 1966)

Pennsylvania's Atty. General Victim
Somerset, Pa., May 9 (AP)-- The bodies of Pennsylvania Atty Gen. Walter E. Alessandroni, his wife, Ethel, and two other persons were found tonight in the wreckage of their plane near here.

The plane, missing since yesterday afternoon, had been on a flight from Harrisburg to Uniontown, carrying the Alessandronis, James E. Staudinger of Abington township and Republican chairman of Montgomery county, and the pilot, Melvin E. Ladin, Collingswood, N.J.

On Campaign Flight
It was a political campaign flight for Alessandroni, 51, who was running for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor with state G.O.P. backing. Alessandroni had managed Gov. William Scranton's bid for the 1964 Presidential nomination.

The plane wreckage was spotted near nightfall this evening by a search pilot, Jim Knepper of Somerset. Ground crews then worked their way to the scene, which is in mountainous terrain. Later, fire officials reported that firemen had reached the scene and found four bodies.

Tells of Icing
Authorities said the private twin-engine Piper Aztec took off at the Harrisburg-York state airport at 2:40 p.m. yesterday and a short time later it made a radio check with an airport at Morgantown, W. Va., for an instrument fix. At the time, Ladin was quoted as saying: "Conditions are not good and there is some icing."

Alessandroni was to have returned to the state capitol at Harrisburg today. His aids said they were not immediately concerned when he did not appear because they thought he had changed his plans. Later in the day, Gov. Scranton announced the disappearance of the craft and ordered into the search state police, the civil air patrol, game wardens. and civil defense personnel.

The search was delayed by bad weather and snow in some areas. Alessandroni was to have spoken at a meeting of the Fayette County Tavern association"


1. NTSB Identification: NYC66A0128:

Revision history:

25-Feb-2008 12:00 ASN archive Added
24-May-2018 10:37 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Jul-2020 21:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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