Thursday, December 16, 2010

Duly Noted: Plane Crash in Park Slope

If you also read Brownstoner, you might have seen that Green-Wood Cemetery will be unveiling a memorial today to the 134 people killed when two airplanes collided off of Staten Island. The wreckage of one, La Guardia-bound TWA Flight 266, landed on Staten Island (1) near where the collision occurred; the other plane, United Airlines Flight 826, bound for International Airport (now JFK), crashed at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Sterling Place in Park Slope.

Of the passengers and crew on those two flights, only one survived the initial crash. But that survivor -- an 11-year-old boy who had been thrown into a snowbank -- later died; half a dozen people on the ground were also killed.

Weather conditions at the time of the collision were what could be called, at best, sketchy: it had snowed earlier, and rain and fog still lingered (2). And while neither flight had reported any mechanical problems, but the United flight was apparently having trouble with its navigational receivers. Either way, it had strayed a dozen miles off course and into that of the TWA flight.

Witnesses speculated that the United flight's pilots were attempting an emergency landing in Prospect Park. On the face of it, it's not an unreasonable supposition, since the park is only a few blocks away from the crash site at Stirling Place and 7th Avenue, but it's uncertain whether the pilots still had control of the plane.

Further reading:
Wikipedia has an article about the crash; the "References" section contains a few sources not linked to here.

In addition, the New York Times has been running a series of articles about the anniversary.
The last two articles are about Stephen Baltz, the 11-year-old who survived the initial crash, but died a day later.

Additional stuff:
Brooklyn Public Library's "Brooklynology" blog had a post about the crash, as seen through one photographer's lens; it had not worked its way through my feed reader when I initially published this post.


Jen said...

Yikes, yeah I saw a little of that story on Yahoo! Sad!

Anna said...

And most likely the only reason Yahoo's covering it is because it's the 50th anniversary today.

There's apparently a plaque at Methodist Hospital, where Baltz died, and there's now the memorial at Green-Wood Cemetery, but otherwise you really have to look for any other evidence that there even was a plane crash.