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Army General Killed as Planes Collide Above Missouri Arsenal

January 21, 1987|Associated Press

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A military plane and a private plane collided over the sprawling Lake City Army Ammunition Plant on Tuesday, killing an Army general and the four other people aboard the two aircraft, authorities said.

Brig. Gen. David H. Stem, commandant of the military police school and deputy commandant general of Ft. McClellan, Ala., was presumed dead pending positive identification of the body, an Army spokesman in Washington said Tuesday night.

The spokesman, Maj. Bill Auer, said Stem was the only passenger aboard a military aircraft en route from Ft. McClellan to Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. The pilot, Maj. Michael G. Johnston of Alexandria, Ala., was also presumed dead, as was the civilian co-pilot, whose name was not disclosed.

Based in Alabama

Auer quoted Maj. Gen. Gerald Watson of Ft. McClellan as saying the aircraft was from the Anniston Army Depot in Anniston, Ala.

The crash, which occurred about 12:30 p.m. at an altitude of 7,000 feet over the arsenal east of Kansas City, involved a U-21 military plane and a Piper Navajo, said Lt. Col. John Garlinger, public affairs officer at Ft. Leavenworth.

There were about 2,200 civilian workers on duty at the ammunition plant when the collision occurred, but no one on the ground was injured, he said.

Two people were aboard the private plane, Garlinger said. Each plane can seat up to six people. The other victims were not identified, and it was not known where the civilian flight originated.

Unrestricted Air Space

Air space above the plant is not restricted, said Robert Houtz of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Investigators from the U.S. Army Safety Center at Ft. Rucker, Ala., the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were sent to the scene.

The arsenal, which has its own security and fire departments and is located about 20 miles east of downtown Kansas City, manufactures small-caliber Army ammunition.

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