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Nuke bomber crashed 50 years ago in western Maryland

  • B 52 Crash Anniversary660371.jpg

    This Jan. 15, 1964 file photo shows a sentry inspecting debris from a Strategic Air Command B-52 bomber that was carrying two unarmed nuclear bombs before it crashed near Cumberland, Md. (AP)

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    The 8-engine craft was en route to Turner AFB, its home station. Crew members, from left: aircraft commander Maj. Thomas W. McCormick, of Yawkey, WV; navigator Major Robert L. Payne of Tulsa, Okla.; radar navigator Major Robert E. Townley of Gadsden, Ala.; pilot Capt. Parker C. Peedin of Smithfield, N.C.; and gunner T. Sgt. Melvin D. Wooten of Rapid City, N.D. (AP)

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    Jan. 7, 2014: In this photo, remnants of an ejector seat and flight map recovered from an Air Force B-52 bomber that crashed 50 years ago are displayed at the Grantsville Community Museum in Grantsville, Md., near the site of the 1964 crash. (AP)

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    Jan. 7, 2014: In this photo, a monument that marks the site of a crashed Air Force B-52 bomber in Barton, Md. (AP)

Residents of far western Maryland are recalling a deadly crash 50 years ago near Grantsville of an Air Force B-52 carrying two nuclear bombs.

Three of the bomber's five crew members died in the storm-driven accident on Jan. 13, 1964. Local volunteers helped government workers recover the bodies -- and the unarmed bombs -- from the snow-covered scene.

The volunteers included Gary Finzel, now 69. He says he'll never forget his overnight trek through hip-deep snow to help bring out the frozen body of Maj. Robert Payne.

Payne's daughter, Teresa Chapman, says she'll always remember the kindness shown by area residents.  They include another member of the recovery team who placed a stone marker on the remote spot where her father's body was found.

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