Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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Pilot Crashes into Living Room of Home

Fred G. Thompson and his 9-year-old daughter Connie were in their Portland, Oregon living room on May 12, 1957, when…

Well, it’s probably best that we let Fred describe exactly what had happened: “We were sitting there working a crossword puzzle when suddenly it sounded like the house was blowing up. My daughter screamed and we looked around behind us, and there was the body on the floor only five feet from us.”

Not only was there a dead man just a short distance from them, but they also had a big hole in the roof of their house and a living room chair was destroyed.

“It was so sudden we couldn’t figure out what had happened.”

The body was identified as 21-year-old Willis Allen Wood, who was enrolled as a senior at Oregon State College. He had been flying a Mooney Mite light airplane over the neighborhood when the plane suddenly disintegrated at an estimated altitude of 2,000 feet (610 meters.)

Wood’s body destroyed their home, but the plane itself did no physical damage to the property. Witnesses said that the plane’s engine had sputtered followed by its plywood and fabric wings falling off. Its fuselage landed in a nearby garden.

Police and firemen examine the hole in the roof of the home of Fred G Thompson.
Police and firemen examine the hole in the roof of the home of Fred G Thompson. Image originally appeared on page 5 of the May 14, 1957 publication of the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
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