Cheektowaga, NY Plane Crashes Into Houses, Dec 1972


Buffalo, N.Y. -- (AP) -- Six persons died Saturday when a twin-engine Cassna slammed into two homes in suburban Cheektowaga shortly after takeoff from Buffalo International Airport in heavy snow.
Three of the victims were aboard the plane. The other three were among five persons in the houses at the time of the crash.
RICHARD REBADOW, general manager of the airport, said the twin-engine plane had just taken off on a flight to Allentown, Pa., when the pilot reported engine trouble.
He said the plane was turning to try to return to the airport when the crash occurred.
The plane cut through a string of power lines on utility poles behind a row of homes a mile south of the airport, smashed into one house, then plowed into the front of another house across the street.
The Erie County medical examiner's office identified the three victims from the plane as:
THEODORE M. CICERO of East Stroudsburg, Pa., pilot of the plane, and his two passengers, E. EVERETT McNAMARA and GERALD PORTER.
The addresses of McNAMARA and PORTER were not available.

The other victims were identified as ANTIONETTE NOWOTNIAK, 47, who lived in one of the houses, and her daughter, ELIZABETH, 14, and her son STEVEN, JR., 24.
MRS. NOWOTNIAK'S husband STEVEN was admitted to the burn treatment center at Emergency Hospital and MRS. HARRY DAVIS, who lived in the second house, who was taken to St. Joseph Intercommunity Hospital.
The NOWOTNIAK home caught fire and was heavily damaged by the flames. JAMES HEHR, chief of a volunteer fire department, said gasoline from the plane apparently triggered an explosion that started the fire.
The plane plowed halfway into the DAVIS house with only the back of the fuselage and the tail protruding from the house. Neither the plane nor the DAVIS home caught fire.
RICHARD WITAKOWSKY, who lives just four doors down from the DAVIS home, said he was shoveling snow when he heard the plane.
"I heard this high-pitched whine and looked up at the plane. It was very low, lower than I've ever seen a plane around here."
"It was wavering like a wounded duck. I knew it was going to hit something ..."
The plane arrived in Buffalo Thursday and was originally scheduled to leave Friday, according to Jack Prior, the president of Prior Aviation Service Inc. Prior said the scheduled eas changed because of weather conditions.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was registered to a T. CICERO of RD 1, East Stroudsburg, Pa.

Gazette-Mail Charleston West Virginia 1972-12-17


I was 12 and it always haunted me

I was a sensitive kid and got very depressed because it was right before Chrstmas and every Christmas after that for years, it really affected me. We didn't live in the neighborhood (we were in Williamsville) but my dad drove us by the scene. Every time I heard "Me and Mrs Jones" I would get really depressed as that song was on when we drove by. Who knew after all these years people still think about that day.


I was one of the first on the scene that morning. I was just leaving my home and noticed heavy smoke from Diane Drive. I stopped to see what was going on and could not believe my eyes. I was there before the police and fire dept. arrived. I soon left the scene at the direction of police. I prayed for all of the people involved that day including your father. Time (45 years) passes quickly, however eternity is forever and those who put their trust in Jesus do live forever. May you have wonderful Christ Filled Christmas.
Do you have Jesus in your heart????
Blessings, G. Gross

My dad Rick Davis was in his

My dad Rick Davis was in his drive way(the 2nd house hit) he tells me to this day how a wall collapsed on my Grandmother and how my grandfather pulled bricks off her while the house was soaked in fuel so bad it was flowing out of the gutters.

Plane crash

I lived on crandon blvd. I still remember that day. Will never forget Elizabeth. God bless all of u who lost their lives and bless their families

I was there that Saturday

I was there that Saturday morning shortly after the plane went down. I was 17 at the time and arrived with a friend of mine. We heard about the crash and went there to see what happened. I remember the utility poles on the street were partially tipped from the plane going through the wires. I remember well the sight of the place embedded in the front of the house. There were many spectators walking around the scene that morning.

I remember that horrible day

I remember that horrible day like it was yesterday.... I just brought my 2 young boys to see those homes on Diane Dr. I let my kids know that your life can change in an instant...... RIP.......

Witnessed explosion

I was nine years old.
On this day, I was headed out my door when right before my eyes, I witnessed the house across the street blow up and saw the neighbor crawling away from the house, in his driveway on fire. Quite a frightful experience, tragic and life changing to many.

Youngest daughter of the pilot...

I am the youngest daughter of T. Cicero, born Sep 1972. This was a tragic day for our entire family. My mother was a young widow of 3 young children, but she prevailed and maintained her strength. She recently passed away in 2010.. they have been reunited. Love you Mom & Dad! Thank you for posting this newspaper article.

Daugher of the Pilot

I am one of the daughter of the pilot of this plane.
That day forever changed me and my sisters lives.
Thank you for the article.