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by John Kremer

Hot Times, Cool Places

Celebrities Air Deaths: June

June 1, 1943: British actor Leslie Howard (42) and sixteen others were killed when their KLM Royal Dutch Airlinces DC-3 was shot down off the coast of France by the German military during World War II.

June 1, 2002: South African cricket captain Wessel Johannes “Hansie” Cronje (32) died along with two pilots when their plane went down in bad weather in the Outeniqua Mountains near George, Western Cape, South Africa. He had taken this flight after missing the regular plane because of a huge hailstorm in Johannesburg. Cronje had been banned in 2000 for his involvement in rigging matches.

June 2, 1943: Heisman trophy winner Nile Kinnick (24) died when the motor of his plane failed during a training flight and he had to make an emergency landing off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea. His body was never recovered. During the 1939 university football season, Kinnick played quarterback, punt returner, punter, and defensive back for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Besides winning the Heisman trophy, he also was voted the top male athlete in the U.S. for 1939. Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City is named after him.

June 2, 1983: Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers, Curtis Mathes (president of Curtis Mathes), and 21 others were killed when their Air Canada DC-9 caught fire and made an emergency landing at the Cincinnati International Airport. Most of the fatalities were caused by smoke inhalation and a flash fire that flared up when the emergency doors were opened. 23 people survived the fire. Stan Rogers rescued several passengers and went back to the plane to help another person, but died in the attempt.

June 4, 1969: Mexican Davis Cup tennis player Rafael Osuna was killed in the crash of a Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727. The crash was attributed to pilot error as the plane flew directly into a mountain near Monterrey, Mexico.

June 4, 1986: Bruce Wayne, a popular and long-time traffic reporter for L.A. radio station KFI, was broadcasting from the airplane he piloted during the Lohman and Barkley morning drive-time show. On June 4, 1986, Wayne took off from the airport moments after broadcasting his first traffic report from the taxiway. His engine quit as he was climbing out, and he crashed in a nearby industrial area and was killed instantly.

June 4, 2007: Six members of the University of Michigan organ transplant team, were killed when their leased Cessna 550 crashed into Lake Michigan shortly after taking off from Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The victims were Dr. David Ashburn, a physician-in-training in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery; Dr. Martinus Spoor, a cardiac surgeon; transplant donation specialists Richard Chenault II and Richard Lapensee; and pilots Dennis Hoyes and Bill Serra.

June 5, 1921: Pioneering woman aviator Laura Bromwell died when she lost control of her airplane and crashed from over 1000 feet in the air. Only a month earlier, she had set a new world's record by looping the loop 199 times at speeds up to 135 miles per hour.

June 6, 1997: Stunt pilot Jeffery Ethell died when his P-38 stalled and crashed at an air show in Tillamook, Oregon. Ethel had hosted several episodes of Planes of Fame.

June 10, 2012: Kenyan internal security minister George Saitoti (66) and five others were killed when his helicopter went down near Nairobi, Kenya, and exploded into flames. The crash may have been caused by the rebel group Al-Shabab.

June 14, 1995: Drew Stephens, former boyfriend of Karen Silkwood, died in a plane crash while practicing aerobatic loops outside El Reno, Oklahoma. Stephens was played by Kurt Russell in the 1983 movie, Silkwood, which dramatised the death of Silkwood, a worker in a nuclear plant who alleged serious safety violations in that plant.

June 16, 1985: Lee Mace, the founder of Lee Mace's Ozark Opry, was killed while attempting to land on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. When the wing tip of the plane hit the end of a floating dock, the plane flipped several times and crashed hard. Bystanders were unsuccessful in attempting to rescue Mace and his flight instructor.

June 17, 1948: Theatrical impresario and night club owner Earl Carroll (55) along with 42 others died in the crash of a United Airlines Douglas DC-6. After a fire began in the cargo hold, the crew were incapacitated by carbon dioxide extinguishers (obviously a design fault).

June 17, 1989: Astronaut S. David Griggs (50) died in the crash of a World War II training plane near Earle, Arkansas.

June 19, 1964: Senator Edward M. Kennedy was severely injured in a private plane crash in Southhamton, Massachusetts while on his way to the Democratic state convention. One of his aides, Edward Moss, and another man were killed.

June 19, 1996: G. David Schine, the Harvard-educated aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy whose draft into the Army caused the downfall of the senator, was killed in a crash of a private plane piloted by his son. Schine, his wife, and his son were killed in the crash just after taking off from the Burbank, California airport. Schine had also been the executive producer of the 1971 movie The French Connection.

June 19, 2000: Artist and journalist Bill Papas (73), who covered the South African trial of Nelson Mandela in the 1950s, drowned when the float plane he was riding in crashed while taking off in British Columbia, Canada. Two other friends among twelve passengers on a fishing vacation also died.

June 22, 1928: Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (56) was lost at sea while attempting to fly a rescue mission to the airship Italia, which was stranded in the Arctic Ocean.

June 22, 2015: Oscar-winning and Grammy-winning composer James Homer (61) died when his single-engine S312 Tucano crashed near Cuyama in central California.

June 23, 1980: Sanjay Gandhi, son of Indira Gandhi, premier of India, died when the plane he was piloting crashed.

June 24, 1935: Argentine actor and tango singer Carlos Gardel (44) and lyricist Alfredo Le Pera were two of 17 killed when two Servicio Aereo Columbiano Ford Tri Motor airplanes collided in midair over Medellin, Colombia.

June 24, 1975: Wendell Ladner, New York Nets forward, was one of 113 people killed when an Eastern Airlines 727 crashed during a storm while trying to land at JFK Airport in New York City.

June 26: Alioune Blondin Beye, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Angola, was killed when his airplane crashed in the Ivory Coast.

June 26, 1996: One of four Flying Elvises died from injuries after being blown off course into a yacht club in Quincy, Massachusetts. He and his partners were parachuting in celebration of the opening of a night club on Boston Harbor when they were hit by whipping winds.

June 27, 1983: World-famous balloonists Maxie Anderson and Don Ida were killed when their helium balloon crashed in a West German forest during a race.

June 27: 2005: John T. Walton (58), the second son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and a member of the company's board died when his ultra-light aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from a field in Wyoming. During the Vietnam War, Walton served as a medic with the U.S. Army Green Berets. He also worked as a crop duster in the 1970s and a boat builder in the 1980s and 1990s. As an heir to the Walton fortune and a net worth of $18.2 billion, he was one of the richest men in America.

June 28, 1979: Philippe Cousteau (35), son of Jacques Cousteau, was killed when his Catalina PBY-6A airplane crashed as he was landing. His plane had just been repaired when he took it out for a flight. As he landed, one of the plane's propeller's sheared off, cut through the cockpit, and killed Cousteau.

June 30, 1954: Two members of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet were killed when their twin engine Beechcraft went down near Clanton, Alabama. Baritone R. W. Blackwood and bass Bill Lyles died in the crash as did a friend, Johnny Ogburn. The crash occurred just 16 days after the Blackwood Brothers won Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts competition on national television in New York City with their rendition of “Have You Talked To The Man Upstairs?” 5,000 people attended their funeral, the South’s largest until that of Elvis Presley.

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