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Elizabeth, NJ Airliner Crash Kills 56, Dec 1951

When the plane crashed to earth, flaming debris and gasoline showered over a wide area and two other houses caught fire. Fire equipment and police came from Roselle, Newark, Union, and from the port authority building at Newark airport.
Watchman Injured.
FRANK HANNON, 65, watchman at the waterworks, suffered shock, cuts and a broken ankle when the roof of the plant fell in on him after the plane plunged into the side of the structure. HANNON was sitting at his desk when the plane struck.
When darkness set in some two hours after the plane crashed at 3:09 p.m., floodlights were set up along the banks of the river to aid firemen in their work.
The Aircoach Transport Assoc. said it was the first fatal accident of a non-scheduled flight in 26 months.
Police Captain NICHOLAS MIGLIORIE and Patrolman NICHOLAS BILSKY said the plane was a "ball of fire" moments before it plunged earthward.
An engineer for a Newark radio station, who observed the crash from a tower, said the right engine of the ill-fated craft was smoking as the plane roared overhead and then he noticed it break into flames. He added:
"A second or two later, the landing wheel came down, and the plane turned to the left, apparently attempting to make the turn to get back to the airport."
"All of a sudden, the same engine that was on fire burst into a very large flame and the plane keeled over and plunged to the ground. After that, there was just a column of smoke."
The site of the crash was only one short block from the Broad St. station of the New Jersey Central Railroad depot in Elizabeth which police said was "fairly well crowded." They said that if the burning airliner had struck the depot the death list might have mounted into the hundreds.
The flight control tower at Newark Airport reported that the pilot had radioed that he was returning to the airfield when contact was lost.
All aboard the giant ship were hopelessly trapped as the flames mushroomed throughout the craft in its plunge to earth.
Firemen were unable to reach the plane for several minutes because of the intense heat radiated by the burning craft.
Officials said that if the tragedy had occurred on any other day but Sunday the death toll might have been staggering.

Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1951-12-17

Comments

air crash ..duplicate of Taipai crash Feb 5 2015 ,

1951 age 12 ,I was eye witness sleigh riding on a small hill as the plane flew over my house .one wing hanging down engine on fire .I was 12 or 13 at the time. Both Pilots by some mericle avoided hitting houses.The Elizabeth pilot had only one wing functional at the time of the crash.It was hanging down,engine on fire.It almost killed me as I was protected by the steep embankment and the bridge .Exploded on impact.

Elizabeth, New Jersey Crash, 1951

According to the Aviation Safety Network, the probable cause of this incident was an unrecoverable stall with the landing gear extended following a serious loss of power from the right engine. This loss of power was caused by the failure of the hold-down studs of the no.10 cylinder, precipitating a fire in flight which became uncontrollable.

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