Air disasters nine years and fifty miles apart

By Bartee Haile

Twenty-three minutes into the short hop from Houston’s Hobby Airport to Dallas Love Field on May 3, 1968, Braniff Flight 352 carrying 85 passengers and crew broke up in a thunderstorm and crashed near the Navarro County community of Dawson.

Nine years earlier, another Braniff turboprop flying the same route also disintegrated in mid-air raining wreckage and human remains down on the quiet countryside near Buffalo in Leon County. A mere 50 miles separated the sites of the two deadly aviation disasters. Braniff 542 was a Lockheed L-188 Electra that had been in service only 11 days. Although the two pilots and flight engineer had recently trained on the new fourengine aircraft with a $2.1 million price tag, they had never flown one.

 

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