Cheektowaga, NY Plane Crashes Into Houses, Dec 1972
PLANE HITS HOUSES; SIX PERSONS DIE.
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