Minneapolis, MN Navy Planes Collide, May 1957

CEMETERY CROWD SEES NAVY PLANES COLLIDE.

Minneapolis (AP) -- A thousand horrified Memorial Day cemetery visitors Thursday watched two Navy jet planes flying an aerial salute to war dead collide and crash in flames into a heavily populated neighborhood of northeast Minneapolis.
One of the pilots was killed and six civilians injured when one of the jets, streaming smoke and flame, hurtled into a residential street, demolished a parked car and set four houses afire.
The other pilot bailed out safely before his disabled jet plunged into a vacant lot five blocks away.
Cmdr. NEWELL OLSON, 38, Liaison and public relations officer at Wold Chamberlain Naval Air Station, was killed when he tried to parachute just before his plane crashed amid the homes.
Five residents of the area were hospitalized with burns and a sixth with an arm injury caused by flying debris. None was in serious condition. Three other persons were treated for shock.
Interiors of two homes were burned out. Fronts of two adjacent residences were badly damaged.
Lt. JOHN FORSMARK, 26, Minneapolis, a "weekend warrior," ejected himself from his plane after it went out of control. He landed on a sidewalk uninjured, went directly to a telephone and called his wife. "Weekend warrior" is the Navy's term for reservists who fly on weekends, but are not on full time active duty.
A helicopter pilot, strewing poppies over Sunset Memorial Cemetery said the planes collided as they started to roll out of a right echelon formation.

Montana Standard Butte 1957-05-31

Comments

NE Minneapolis Memorial Day Navy Reserve jet crash 1957

I was 9 and I was walking north with some other kids in front of what is now St Mary's Orthodox Cemetery at 31st and Stinson Blvd. We knew it as the Greek Orthodox Cemetery. I remember looking up as the planes were passing directly over us at low altitude. They were in what I now know as a right-echelon formation. As I watched, the trailing plane in the right-rear position seemed to start a left turn, but then corrected and clipped the wing of the plane next to him. My memory is that they both immediately burst into flames where they made contact and the entire formation disappeared from our limited sight because of the huge elm trees that used to line the streets.

I remember pointing and hollering "Those planes are on fire!". The traffic on Stinson was heavy and moving very slowly because of a lot of pedestrians crossing the street and going to a memorial day service at the cemetery. A station wagon heading south, stopped and I saw the driver stick his head out of his window in an attempt to see the planes.

What I've never understood is that I am absolutely certain to this day that the formation was headed in a north-westerly direction when the collision occurred. From my point of view, I would have expected them to crash in Columbia Heights. I was very surprised to learn later that day on the news that they both crashed southwest of where the collision occurred. Now, knowing a little more about flying, I realize that they were probably doing their best to stay airborne as long as possible and heading for the river gave them a few more seconds to attempt to steer to a safe crash site and eject.

There were many baseball games (little league? Maybe softball?) at NE Athletic Field that day but when the plane crashed on the field, they were between games. That the injuries of civilians on the ground were few and minor is just incredible.

Airplane Crash

I remember this crash and have been trying to find details of it. We lived on 22nd and Arthur and part of a wing landed in the backyard around 22nd and Benjamin or Cleveland. My dad walked a couple of us kids down to I believe 19th-22nd and Fillmore to see the end result.

Memorial Day crash

Your story is almost identical to mine, I also was 7 and at the Hillside service with my Mother, Aunt, and two sisters. I still remember one of the wings spinning through the air. We left the cemetery right away but couldn't get through the traffic and had to leave our car and walk, we lived right next to the park where one of the planes crashed and walking home I remember the adults being worried that the plane hit our house but it crashed in what was then just a vacant lot, across the street from a large park with hundreds of baseball and softball players on a beautiful holiday. It could have been so much worse. I again live back in N.E. Just a few blocks from the crash site.

I remember seeing this crash

I was only 7 years old. My dad was the Commander of an American Legion Post, there was a Memorial Day service at Hillside Cemetary. During the service it had been arranged that Navy jets from the local Naval Air Station would fly over. I can remember my Grandpa holding me while everyone looked towards the sky and then the planes collided in the sky. Although I was only 7, I still can visualize the scene. Later that day, our family drove by Northeast Athletic Field to see some on the debri and then went to the home of my father's co-worker that lived across the street from the homes that were hit. I remember the story about the piolt that ejected, landed & called his wife. Recently I was at Hillside Cemetary with friends, we were visiting our fathers graves and I was telling them about that Memorial Day. I am glad I found this article.