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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 recalled.

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 it.

"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 wing span.

As the plane banked in to make a landing the right wing "patted" the top of one of the mobile homes.

"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 gone.

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," he said.

"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 lap belts.

"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)

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