DC-3 Crash Survival - A Miracle!
As the aircraft began losing altitude, Davis said it clipped
the tops of one or two trees.
"We started losing air speed
immediately when that happened and it really aggravated a bad
situation. The nose came down and we started really coming down," he
On the ground ahead of them
were two mobile homes, two houses and a road. Davis said Roberts and
Holder tried to put down on the road but were unable to quite make
"Basically, the situation was
that we had a 22,000-pound aircraft loaded with 800 gallons of fuel
coming in at 110 miles per hour.
"There was only about 200 feet
between one mobile home and the houses and the plane had a 95 foot
As the plane banked in to make
a landing the right wing "patted" the top of one of the mobile
"When I looked at it later, you
couldn't see any damage to the mobile home from the outside,
However, the contact did knock down some sheetrock and did some
other damage inside," he said.
Davis noted that had the wing
tip hit the mobile home any harder, it would have probably spun the
plane and any chance of a controlled crash landing would have been
As they came in and made a
belly landing, Davis recalled seeing a pair of oak trees ahead each
between 12 and 16 inches in diameter separated by a space only
slightly wider than the fuselage of the DC-3.
"Buddy drove that plane between
the two oaks and there couldn't have been an inch or two to spare.
Buddy later told me that somebody held his hand. He didn't believe
he could have done that without the help of the Lord.
Davis said the idea of taking
the plane between the two trees was to sheer of the two wings. The
wings held the fuel tanks and by cutting them off, Davis said
Roberts was hoping to keep the danger of fire away from the
Chariot's fuselage and the nearby homes.
"Everything happened so fast
that there had to be a supernatural force helping us. He threaded
the needle of those two oak trees with the aircraft, knocking
off the left wing while the right wing stayed intacted.
Davis said the oak trees had
enough give in them that they bent forward, cushioning the plane and
slowing its speed.
"The oaks gave and then
snapped. The aircraft's nose then rose a bit, the back end dipped
and the tail caught on the tree stumps.
"It was much like a jet landing
on an aircraft carrier. The tail of our plane acted like a hook and
the tree stumps like the arresting wire on the deck of an aircraft
carrier. It stopped us almost immediately.
"We had stopped in less than
100 feet from the point where we first touched the ground. We broke
every law of physics in doing so and the FAA (Federal Aviation
Administration) people said that none of us should have survived,"
"The DC-3, however, is a tough,
old bird. The fuselage did not break apart and it got us down in one
piece," he added.
Davis compared the landing to
that of a helicopter because the Chariot came down and stopped in a
fairly small space with residences located all around it.
During the crash, Holder and
Roberts were thrown forward but were held in their seats by their
"Ron's head did go through the
windshield and Buddy's head hit and broke the windshield," he said.
"But neither of them were knocked out. If any of us had lost
consciousness, we would have never gotten out of the plane.
Davis, who had been standing
behind the two when the crisis began, said he knew he didn't have
time to return to his seat so he "hunkered down behind the pilot's
seat" and held on. The muscles of his lower back took most of the
punishment from the crash.
"I know many people won't
believe it, but I never was really afraid. I felt the Lord would
take care of everything and He did," Davis recalled. (continued)