1937 air crash a freak accident

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, July 23, 2011

When researching the 1931 plane crash that I wrote about last week, I found another story of air accident in Austin.

From the October 4, 1937, Austin Daily Herald:

“ ‘A freak accident, rare in aviation history’ was the way in which Richard Fender, bureau of air commerce inspector, described today the mid-air collision that took the lives of three Austin persons, Mr. and Mrs. Ephie Hull and Duane Wehner.

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The tragedy, of which Ole Ellingson, father of Mrs. Ephie Hull, was one of the witnesses, occurred shortly before 6 o’ clock last night about half a mile north of the municipal airport here.

Mr. Ellingson saw the two planes, a Warner Monocoupe, piloted by Hull, and a Taylor Cub, flown by Wehner, come together at an altitude of over 700 feet. He watch the plane in which his daughter was a passenger, plunge to earth. The other ship, its nose sliced off in the collision, fluttered in the air before descending to the ground.

Ephie Hull, 28, and his wife, the former Bernice Ellingson, 25, were married last May. Duane, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wehner, was 16 years old.

…Hull apparently had been blinded by the sun and for that reason did not see the ship flown by Wehner.

…Vandals went to work soon after the crash, stripping instruments and other removable parts from the wreckage of the two planes. To protect the ships, about 20 national guardsmen of Company H were called out and the planes were watched throughout the night. Authorities here were particularly anxious to preserve the wreckage for an investigation of the crash, but the vandals got away with considerable before their pilfering could be stopped.”

Free Outdoor Concert

The HHH will host a free outdoor concert by Bob Bovee & Gail Heil on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Peace Garden. Bovee & Heil are a duo known for old fashioned music including cowboy songs and square dance tunes. They will also present a free children’s workshop at 2 p.m. at the Parmount Theatre. Bovee & Heil are appearing in Austin, hosted by the HHH and Paramount Theatre, with funding by the MarySue Hormel Harris trust.