Marvel Crosson is Victim
Body Found 200 Feet from her Wrecked Ship in Desert
In Air Derby
Welton Ariz., Aug. 20. (UP)
The body of Marvel Crosson, 28 entrant in the Woman's Air Derby, was found in desert brush near here today where her plane was reported to have hurtled to earth in a tailspin late yesterday.
Miss Crosson apparently had tried to save her life by jumping when the plane crashed. Her parachute, which apparently had not opened, was strapped to her back. The wreckage of her plane was 200 feet away.
Miss Crosson's death was the first casualty of the woman's Santa Monica to Cleveland air derby which started Sunday under auspices of the National Exchange Clubs.
A fishing party which had spent the night beating through brush more than 10 feet high, reported the discovery of her body to the sheriff's office.
Parachute Did Not Open
It was believed that her parachute had failed to function or that she had left the plane too late [for it ] to open. The body struck the ground with such force as to make it almost unrecognizable. The plane was demolished.
Miss Crosson had left San Bernardino, first over-night control of the competition, early yesterday morning. She passed over Calexico, Calif., as required and headed towards Phoenix, second over-night stop.
Victim Born in Warsaw
Miss Crosson was born in Warsaw, Ind., April 27, 1904. Her father is Esler Crosson and her mother was christened Elizabeth Wynant. Marvel has an older brother Joseph and a younger sister Velma. The three children were reared on a ranch and attended a grade school near Minneapolis, Kan. Marvel was graduated from the Logan county high school in Sterling, Colo.
While still a child she was fascinated with the accomplishments of a barnstorming aviator named McMullen, who flew in an old style "pusher" airplane at the fair in Sterling. In 1922 the family moved to San Diego, Calif., and the many planes operated there prompted Marvel and her brother to buy one of the surplus planes then being sold by the U.S. army.
It was in this plane that Marvel and her brother learned to fly. In the spring of 1923 the brother made his first solo flight after which he helped Marvel. Both developed rapidly and soon after entered the aviation business. In 1925 the commercial possibilities of aviation in Alaska where aerial transportation is often used when all other forms are useless, lead Marvel and her brother into the north. Joe worked as a transport pilot. Marvel kept busy in commercial work, exhibition and as an aviation executive.
Addressed Warsaw Kiwanis
Miss Crosson spent last August, 1928 visiting relatives in Warsaw and while here addressed the Warsaw Kiwanis club at the Hotel Hayes and gave the Warsaw Daily Times an interview on her flying experiences. She had just previously completed a flight across the continent from San Diego to New York with her brother, Joe Crosson, now recently returned from the south pole expedition with Explorer Wilkins. Joe is now a commercial flyer living with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Crosson, and sister Thelma (sic) Crosson, at San Diego, Calif., where Marvel also made her home. While in Warsaw Miss Crosson was a guest at the home of her aunt, Mrs. Simon Osborn, East Market street.
Among the surviving relatives of the young aviatrix are the following aunts; Mrs. Simon Osborn of Warsaw; Mrs. Kathryn Clark, of Muncie; Mrs. Jefferson J. Hale, of Cleveland; Ohio; Mrs. C. W. Miller, of Newcastle; cousins, Mrs. Donald Lichtenwalter, Miss Velma Osborn, Garrett Osborn, Mrs. Clifford Frush of Warsaw; Miss Esther Hughes, Mrs. Vivian Snyder of Chicago, Mrs. Mayme Gunter of Fort Wayne, John, Dick and Paul Hughes of Pierceton; William Osborn, James Reese and Dellon Miller of New Castle and one uncle Lincoln Hughes of Pierceton. Pictures of Miss Crosson will be found in this paper on pages one and four
Warsaw Daily Times Tuesday August 20, 1920 front page
Investigate Claim Miss Crosson's
Plane was Weakened
Phoenix, Ariz., Aug. 29. (UP)
Death and dissention rode with the women's Santa Monica-to-Cleveland airplane derby today.
Shortly before the 14 contestants
remaining in the race began leaving the airport here for today's
jaunt to Douglas, Ariz., reports of finding the body of Miss Marvel
Crosson, in a clump of bushes were received from Welton.
She had been killed on yesterday's stage of the race when her plane went into a tail spin. Reports from Welton indicated that she had attempted to jump to safety as her body, the parachute unopened, lay 200 feet from the wreckage of her plane.
In addition to the gloom caused by the death of one of America's best known feminine pilots the women were disturbed by Thea Rusche and Claire Fahy claiming that someone had tampered with their planes. Although these reports were not proved they were enough to send tremors of uneasiness and dissent through the highly strung group.
Miss Crosson's accident merely added weight to suspicion that some of the planes had been weakened in an attempt to force them out of the race.
Bobby Trout, former holder of the women's endurance flight record, and Opal Kunz, New York, also said they believed their instruments had been misadjusted while still in California.
Investigation of the death of Marvel Crosson and of charges of sabotage made by participants in the air derby for women was launched today by Floyd J. Logan, chairman of the national air meet here.
A statement from Logan said: "I have asked Yuma to report if there is any foundation for the rumors that there had been tampering with any of the contesting planes and to lay the facts before the prosecuting attorney in the districts that he might take immediate action against the fiends who do such a thing."
"We have wired the people in charge of control stops along the route to report to us if a contesting plane does not reach the station within the proper time."
Logan said he personally would direct an inquiry of sabotage charges on arrival of the women flyers here.
Marvel Crosson 1904-1929
Warsaw Daily Times Tuesday August 20, 1929 front page.
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