Chicago, IL Jets Collide On Runway, Dec 1972

Chicago ILL wreckage 12-20-1972.jpg


Chicago, Illinois -- Two University of Wisconsin research technicians, returning together from a space science conference in Dallas, were among nine persons killed in a collision of a North Central Airlines DC-9 with a Delta Airlines jet at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Wednesday night.
Federal Aviation Authorities said late this morning that the Delta airliner was at a place where it wasn't supposed to be when the accident occurred.
CHARLES D. BLAIR, 31, of 4714 Martha Lane., and JOHN KRUSE, 33, Sun Prairie, have been identified among the dead. Both men worked at the UW Space Science and Engineering Center, 1225 W. Dayton St.
Others dead in the crash are:
MRS. HELMA ALTO, 79, Aurora, Minn.
MISS DARLYNN DARBY, 20, Baker, Ore., who was on her way to visit her fiance in Madison.
MRS. BEVERLY DEMPSEY, 23, Antoul, Ill., who was on her way to visit her sister in Duluth.
MRS. BEVERLY LONG, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
MR. and MRS. E. W. WOLF, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., all three of whom were on their way to LaCrosse for a funeral.
MRS. E. TUNDER, Hasle, Norway, who was headed for Duluth, Minn.
At the time of the crash, the North Central jet was just lifting off the runway, bound for Madison and Duluth-Superior. The plane hit the tail section of another airline which had just landed and which taxied across the runway from which the North Central jet was taking off.
Immediately after the impact the North Central jet, carrying 45 persons, dropped back to the runway, with smoke billowing from it.
The second plane was a larger Delta Airline Convair 880 carrying 93 persons. Two passengers on the Delta flight received minor injuries.
The Delta plane was taxiing to a holding area, which, according to Federal Aviation Administration officials, was not a normal place for it to be. Officials are trying to establich just what instructions the Delta pilot had received from the control tower.
MISS DARBY, the daughter of a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, was on her way to visit Lester P. Merklin, an intern pastor at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Madison.
Merklin was MISS DARBY'S fiance. She was a theology student at Walla Walla College in Washington. According to friends, MISS DARBY'S
parents were in Sedalia, Mo., at the time of the crash. MISS DARBY left her parents to come to Madison to visit her fiance. She apparently planned to return to Sedalia after the holidays.
MR. and MRS. WOLF and MRS. LONG were on their way to the Schumacher Funeral Home in LaCrosse for a funeral. MRS. WOLF and MRS. LONG are sisters and were to attend the funeral of their mother, Mrs. Hazel G. Wisler. The funeral was to take place at 11 a.m. Friday.
The had changed planes in Chicago and were apparently going to change again in Madison for LaCrosse.
MRS. DEMPSEY was married to Staff Sgt. Daniel P. Dempsey. The couple lived on the Air Force Base at Rantoul. They had no children. The husband was notified Wednesday night of the crash but could not be located today by any authorities to aid in the identification of his wife.
Neither the Norwegian Consulate in Chicago nor Madison had any information of MRS. E. TONDER.
MRS. ALTO, one of the first to be officially identified, was apparently on her way to Aurora to visit relatives for the holidays.
"The North Central people were great," said one surviving passenger. "Without them, a lot more people might have died."
Cook County officials set up a temporary morgue for the nine dead at the airfield. Deputy Coroner Sidney Berman said the bodies of the dead were burned very badly.
Fifteen of the North Central passengers were treated for injuries.

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