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Did a jet once crash into the WWAY TV tower near Boiling Springs Lakes? And why is it not lit?

Hunter Ingram

Q. Did a jet once crash into the WWAY NewsChannel 3 tower near Boiling Springs Lakes? Why is their tower at Winnabow not illuminated at night for aircraft? The tower at Delco on US 74/76 is visible for miles.

According to Billy Stratton, chief engineer for WWAY NewsChannel 3, that happened before his time at the station. In the early 1980s, a Marine jet hit one of the guy wires that held the tower up. The tower then fell over onto the road. The pilot walked away with no injuries after the air traffic control called for an emergency landing. The aircraft, however, experienced damage.

As a result of the incident, the station constructed its current tower in Winnabow in 1984.

The old Boiling Springs Lake tower is still in use, though Stratton noted that it is now considerably shorter.

Lightning strikes occasionally cause problems with the lights on the tower, as this MyReporter answer shows. Most recently, the Winnabow tower lights have been fixed in the last two weeks.

UPDATE: Here’s a little more on the story from Merton Vance, who works on the StarNews’ Universal Desk and remembers everything:

It happened Jan. 24, 1981. An Air National Guard jet flying  at low-altitude clipped a guy wire, causing the tower to topple.

The station was off the air for some time, but did manage to get a shorter tower in place while a bigger replacement was built. We did a lot of coverage on this at the time.

Click here to read one of the stories we wrote.


Why aren’t the strobe lights on the TV tower at Winnabow visible anymore?

How high are the communications towers along Market Street?

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2 Responses to “ Did a jet once crash into the WWAY TV tower near Boiling Springs Lakes? And why is it not lit?”

  1. On September 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm Joe Justice wrote:

    I was stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro at the time. The wire cut off the entire outer wing section, about 6 feet, and the acft. landed safely at SJAFB. The outer section on the F-4 acft. was the wing fold section and contained no fuel. Just a few inches closer to the fuselage and the wing would have received major damage.

  2. On September 15, 2014 at 12:02 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    It’s a relief that the pilot landed safely. Thanks for sharing!

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