(February 6, 1929 - August 1, 1948)
The Lusk Herald
August 12, 1948
What was to have been a pleasant Sunday afternoon airplane jaunt ended in tragedy last Sunday afternoon, when the light plane of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Loran Easton, in which they were both riding, went into a tailspin and crashed into Lake Minatare, about 14 miles west of Scottsbluff, Neb., resulting in the death of Mrs. Easton, a bride of two months, who is the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Clyde Hampton of Lusk, and serious injury to Mr. Easton, who was piloting the plane.
Up until noon Wednesday the body of Mrs. Easton had not been recovered, although member of the Scottsbluff Fire Department, volunteer boatmen and members of the Gering National Guard Anti-Tank Company have dragged the lake almost continuously.
Large fish nets were brought to Scottsbluff Tuesday from North Platte and were being used Wednesday in the search.
According to witnesses the light plane which had been rented from the airplane service, was flying over the lake at about 110 miles an hour, and the pilot was apparently engaged in practicing stalls, when the craft suddenly went into a tailspin and dived propeller first, into the water. Mr. Easton has been in such a serious condition that he has been unable to give further details. According to the rescue men he said he was practicing stalls and failed to bring the plane under control before it hit the water.
Although Mr. Easton suffered a fractured vertebrae, shoulder, leg and jaw when the plane crashed into the water, he succeeded in getting his wife out of the plane, and was keeping her afloat and making some headway by swimming toward a rescue boat, when he lost consciousness and loosened his hold. A boat, coming to their rescue, was within ten feet of the couple and while two men dragged Easton into the boat a third dived after Mrs. Easton as she sank rapidly, but was unable to reach her, although he continued to dive for some time he could find no trace of her.
It is presumed that she was either unconscious or dead from injuries received in the crash, as she was an excellent swimmer.
Witnesses state that the plane stayed afloat about two minutes, then sank from sight.
According to those familiar with Lake Minatare, the lake has a decided undertow, and the bottom is covered with brush and fallen trees so that recovery of the body is an unusually difficult task.
As soon as Rev. and Mrs. Hampton were informed of the tragedy they left immediately for the scene. Clyde Hampton, Jr., brother of Mrs. Easton, who is an expert swimmer and diver, also left immediately from Omaha, Neb., where he was engaged in athletic activities for the summer. He is a student at Columbia University. Rev. Hampton returned to Lusk Tuesday evening, but left early Wednesday morning for the scene.
Miss Betty Hampton was graduated from Lusk High School with the class of '46, and later attended George Washington University. She had been engaged in secretarial work since leaving school, and had been employed by the Ringsby Truck Line in Lusk for the past eight months, leaving here the 24th of June, as she was employed in the same capacity in the Scottsbluff office, where her husband was manager.
She was married on May 20 of this year to Robert Loran Easton, and they had made their home in Gering, Neb.
Betty was a licensed pilot in her own right, having completed her training under Frank DeCastro at the Lusk Airport.
Besides her husband she is survived by her parents, Rev. and Mrs. Clyde E. Hampton, and brother, Jerry, of Lusk; another brother, Clyde, Jr., and a sister, Mrs. Jewel McCarthy of Douglas, Wyo.
Funeral arrangements are still indefinite.
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