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Mayday Over Wichita, Worst Air Disaster in KS History

The burning houses on North Piatt in Wichita, Kan., after a KC-135 tanker crashed on Jan. 16, 1965. (Photo Courtesy of D.W. Carter)

Topeka Author's Book Explores Worst Air Disaster in KS History

It was the worst aviation disaster in state history. Forty-eight years ago this week, a huge military airplane dropped out of the sky... and crashed in the middle of a poor and predominately black neighborhood in Wichita (21st and Piatt). On January 16, 1965, a KC 135 air refueling tanker went down in northeast Wichita. The plane was fully-loaded with 31,000 gallons of highly-flammable jet fuel. Twelve hours later, the fire was finally extinguished... but 30 people were dead. In the decades since, many Kansans outside of Wichita have largely forgotten about the disaster. But one man is trying to change that. Topeka author and military historian David Carter has been writing a book about the crash called: "Mayday Over Wichita." KPR's J. Schafer spoke to him about the crash.

That's David Carter, a Topeka author, military historian and Air Force Veteran. His book, "Mayday Over Wichita" is coming out later this year.


(newscast version)

Anniversary of Worst Air Disaster in KS

D.W. CarterThis week marks the 48th anniversary of the deadliest plane crash in state history -- when an Air Force refueling tanker crashed inside a poor, black neighborhood in Wichita. Topeka author David Carter has been writing a book about the disaster.

The plane, fully-loaded with highly-flammable jet fuel, went down in northeast Wichita, killing 30 people. David Carter's book, called "Mayday Over Wichita" is scheduled for publication later this year.

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