Eye witness: Ruth Andersson


Ruth Andersson, who was the first person at the crash site, lived only some houndred yards from where the plane went down. She was awakened that night by a terrible crashing sound that shook the whole house. It was dark and foggy, but above the forrest there were high flames. Ruth rushed to the forest followed by her husband Harry Andersson, father-in-law Carl Andersson and sister-in-law Emy Andersson. At the crash site she saw the plane surrounded by fire. It wasn't possible to get close as it was burning everywhere on the ground within a large area and was too hot.

They shouted out to hear if anyone was alive, but got no answer. They searched in the lights from the fire but couldn't see anyone from the crew. Emy then ran to Hultet, more than half a mile away from the crash site, that was the closest place with a telephone. The butcher Knut Johansson, who lived there, called the telephone central of Anten, who contacted the police and fire brigade in Alingsås, the Home guard in Alingsås (Tage Rågmark) and local police, Jonas Thorsson from Älvängen. Jonas Thorsson then called Kilanda-Östads Home guard, who came around 2:30 AM, led by the acting home guard area officer, F Stener.

Meanwhile Ruth, Harry and Carl had tried to put out the fire, but had to stop their efforts when a series of explosions suddenly occured in the burning wreck. At the same time there was a lot of clattering as from an automatic weapon. According to the Swedish military authories, the plane was unarmed, so it was probably signal ammunition. A rocket also blew away from the wreck.

The fire brigade came around 3AM with twelve fire brigade soldiers, but by then most of the plane had burned, so there wasn't much they could do.

When the police, Sven Eriksson, Gösta Gustavsson, A Johansson and others came to the site after some hours, the wreckage was still burning, but it was possible to walk in the area around it. By then they found Oakley Ragland, who was lying moaning in a hole in the ground. According to some sources he was pointing at his left breast pocket, where a photo of his wife was found. According to others, he never regained consciousness. He was carried away and Red Cross sergeant Harald Rödblom gave him first aid, but after a while he died, before the ambulance came.

The Home guard closed off the area and in the morning, the area was taken over by a military patrol that had been in the neighborhood.

Early in the morning, Major M Hinnerson, the commander at Torslanda, came and later also the American consul in Göteborg.

At dawn when it became bright, you could clearly see how the plane had made its way through the forest. It had come from the north and plowed through the forest, making a pathway of approximately a quarter of a mile long and 70-100 feet wide. Even thick pines had been cut along the way. In the middle of the pathway you could find two of the engines, and the wreckage was spread over a big area. There were parachutes, tools, instruction manuals, personal belongings from the crew, a life boat, pound bills and a lot more. A creek that was flowing where the plane had touched down was green of oil from oil tanks that had been crushed. Even up in the trees there were parts of the plane, though there were no uniforms or other military equipment.

At 7AM it was still burning, but by then it had started to rain, so there was no big risk that the fire would spread.

The last two from the crew were found later in the morning, charred with the remainder of the plane. Doctor A Axelson declared that all of the six found airmen were dead. Oakley Ragland and two of the others had no burn wounds, so it is likely that these three were thrown out from the plane at the crash. All six had flight suits and life jackets on them. Their remains were taken to Sjövik during the morning.

Many curious locals came during the following days to see what had happend. Many journalists also came. Carl had to clear things from his potato cellar so that it could be used as a darkroom to develop photos.

It took some days before they started to remove the wreckage, but then it took just two days to get all the parts away. The biggest part that remained was a piece of the landing gear that had not been broken, which was difficult to get out of the forest.

The plane went down at the worst place in the area. The crash site is high in the mountain, the highest in the neighborhood, 200 meters above Anten railway station and the lake not far away. Close by there are several places where the terrain is more suitable for a crash landing.

But for Ruth and her relatives, they were lucky that it went down where it did. If it had gone down some hundred yards more to the west, it would have crashed through their house. Even more lucky were Ingrid and Allan Bergström who lived on the farm Långås, straight ahead of the crash site. If the plane would have flown a little higher, it would have gone into their farm. In addition, Ingrid and Allan passed the crash site just half an hour before the accident. They had been at a religious meeting in Jutamossen and on their way home had walked on the path were the plane crashed.

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