Cleveland, OH Plane Crash Kills 7, Oct 1968


Cleveland, Ohio (AP) -- The parents and sister of a University of Notre Dame student were among seven persons killed Friday when a private plane crashed here and burned.
There were no survivors of the crash of the twin engine Beechcraft into a residential street near Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The party was en route to South Bend, Ind., to attend the Notre Dame - Illinois football game today.
The plane left the Linden, N.J., airport where Manager ROBERT MEYER said it was piloted by the owner, CHRISTOPHER CORDARO, Little Silver, N.J.
CORDARO'S son, LEONARD, is a Notre Dame freshman.
MEYER said the others aboard were MRS. CORDARO; the couple's daughter, JOANNE; MR. and MRS. LOUIS COSTANZO, New Jersey residents; MISS JUDITH GUTTERIDGE, Oakhurst, N.J., and an unidentified girl.
Witnesses said the pilot apparently veered to avoid rows of houses north of Hopkins AIrport. Officials said CORDARO radioed shortly after 5 p.m. that one engine had quit. Just before the crash the plane was spotted coming out of an overcast with its nose down.
MARTIN HARTSEL, 17, said he was in his backyard and heard the aircraft "coming in."
The youth said, "It looked as though it was heading straight for our house. I ran to the back, and it hit."

Anderson Daily Bulletin Indiana 1968-10-19



Cleveland (UPI) -- A private plane bearing a Notre Dame University student's family and four others to the school for homecoming weekend crashed on a street in a residential area here last night, killing all aboard.
The craft, a twin-engine Beech King, was piloted and owned by CHRISTOPHER CORDARO, 43, of Little Silver, N.J., on a flight from Lindon, N.J., to South Bend, Ind.
Aboard were his wife, their daughter, JOANNE, a MR. and MRS. LOUIS COSTANZA,
of Colonia, N.J., and two girls identified as JUDITH GUTTERIDGE and MARY LOU DOLAN, who were to be the dates of LEONARD CORDARO, 18, and a fellow student.
The COSTANZAS were believed to be business acquaintances of the CORDAROS. Ages and addresses on the other victims were not available.
Cleveland Hopkins Airport said CORDARO reported to them that one engine of his craft failed as it was north of the airport and he requested emergency landing instructions. The airport tower held up the landing of all incoming planes while waiting for the disabled aircraft.
But before the plane was able to reach the airport, it dived into a residential area on the west side, hitting a car and truck, and exploding.
Cpl. James Wantz of the Ohio Highway Patrol said CORDARO might have been deliberately steering his craft away from homes.
"I don't know if he was trying to avoid the homes or could direct the aircraft, be if he did, he sure did a good job," Wantz said. "He didn't touch one of the houses. He hit at suppertime and everyone was probably inside their homes eating."
Henry Jakes was driving in the neighborhood at the time and witnessed the explosion. He said he believed everyone in the plane was killed instantly.
"I was looking right at it," Jakes said. "I couldn't see much of anything because of the flames and smoke, but I didn't hear any screams or anything like that."
"I looked through the rear view mirror and saw a large fireball and a lot of black smoke coming out," he said.

Chronicle Telegram Elyria Ohio 1968-10-19


I will never forget that

I will never forget that rainy,sad day.... Every year I think of Leonard and say a prayer for him. I cant imagine how he must have felt every year. God bless you Leonard. Also, God bless the families of the deceased. Thank you Mr.Cordaro for saving the lives of so many that day.... RIP

plane crash on oct. 18, 1968.

Hi Kathi. small world. every year I remember that awful day. The plane hit and destroyed my Uncle's truck and brother's car. A few feet in any direction would have taken our homes, too. It's a good day to remember them in our prayers.

1968 Midvale Plane Crash

I saw the smoke a few streets away ....I was 15 years old.
When I got to the scene the flames were about as high as a telephone pole. I looked for survivors ....none. Just a lot of body parts and torn wreckage scattered around the shock I walked away and could not figure out what the pilot did wrong.
Years later now flying the same aircraft I discovered that when you lose an engine on a light twin ...never go below VMC or minimum control speed in a the twin engine airplane. If you lose an engine and go below VMC the aircraft will spiral into the ground. The young boy that saw the crash said the plane came out of the cloud nose down...which makes me believe that the pilot went below VMC and lost control of his plane. I am sure he was trying to hold altitude without sinking thus losing speed.
It's sad that he never made the airport. God Bless these folks that were lost that day in Oct 1968.


I remember you. Iam 59 now. Boy, time has sure flown by. It seems like yesterday that we were all neighbors, and kids playing out in the street. We use to gather right there in the street where the plane crashed, and played kickball. We would had likely been playing that evening, but it was raining. I have learn that our old neighborhood doesnt exist anymore. What a shame. I live in Newport, Tennessee. Not far from Gatlinburg. If you are on facebook, look me up under Bill Potts. To know that you have the correct Bill Potts, it will state that I live in Newport, Tennessee. Send me a friend request. Im glad to hear that you are alive and kicking too.

Crash on Midvale

I was 10 years old. I remember the Potts family. Do you remember us, we lived on the other side of Hartsels. It was my brothers car and dads van that blew up with that plane. I remember that day like it was yesterday. And you are right we would have been playing kick ball out in the street if it wasn't for the light rain. My sisters and my self were in the back bedroom when the plane crashed. We were watching my favorite martian and the martian was feeding the dog, he had just said "and for dessert, Bones" and we heard the huge boom. My sister was on the phone and the operator came on and and told her to hang up they needed the line clear. Glad to hear you are doing good and still around. I am 56 now. God Bless. We were saved for some reason that day!!

Cleveland Airplane crash October 1968

I went to school with a girl her name was Tina Hodous and she lived on Midvale Ave. I remember that plane crash I was 10 when it happen.

Mary Lou Dolan

Sorry it took so long to get back to you.


Tho, I remember the Hartsells.., in my reference to remember and knowing a girl and neighbor then, by the name of Sandy and her siblings...their last name was Hodous. Not Hartsell. At that time, the Hodous's lived almost directly across the street from the Hartsells. It was on the Hodous's side of the street and in front of their house that this plane crashed occured. My apologies for this error. In 1971, my parents moved back home to Newport, Tennessee. I have lived here in Newport since then. Anyone from that time and neighborhood that may remember me...feel free to contact me via facebook.

Westdale crash

I remember this airplane crash like it was yesterday.My friends and I were on the way to her house on Brysdale cutting through Westdale when the plane literally crashed about 200 front of us.the most vivid memory was of all the bodies scattered and covered.I was 11 at the time.

I was 12yrs. old and my

I was 12yrs. old and my parents and I were living on Midvale Ave. just 5 houses up from the crash. I remember that day very well. I had a paper route that I delievered newspapers for the Cleveland Press two streets over on Sally Ave. every evening. It was misting rain and I just got home from delievering my papers and was watching TV. My sister was upstairs, my mother was fixing supper, and my stepfather was in the living room with me. All at once, we heard a loud boom and our house shooked. Everyone ran outside to see what happen. The plane had crashed at the near edge of the curb. No one could see much at first because of the flames and smoke. As I recall, the plane had crashed on top of a car and van that was parked where the plane hit. I remember seeing parts of the plane scattered in the Hartsells yard and others. Through the flames you could barely see the tail section. I remember all the other neighbors coming outside and some with the cameras. I remember my stepfather taking pictures too. As a young boy then, this was something else to witness, but understood that it was a tragic event. After the fire deptartment arrived and put the fire out, then it was realized how hard the impact was. I do remember seeing the remains of the bodies recovered. The next couple of days were spent with the authorities doing their investigation and with the clean up. I remember watching them load the remains of the plane on a flat-bed truck and other small dump trucks. It was a event that was talked about for weeks and planted into the memories of many. Tho, as tragic as it was for those who died that day and the surviving families, it could had been worse if it hadnt been for it raining that day. It was a practice and play for us kids on that street to gather up every evening to play kick-ball at that same location. Since it was misting rain, our evening game of playing kick-ball was canceled. Two years after that, my parents decided to move back to East Tennessee where they were originally from. I have lived here ever since. I am now 57yrs. old , retired, and raised a family of three of my own and have 9 grandchildren. I lost my wife 13yrs. ago in a tragic car accident and I have remained single. My sympthapy goes out to the families who lost their loved ones on that day. On this night of myself replying to this, my youngest child and daughter who is 24yrs. old was visiting, and I was telling her about this event from my child hood days when living in Cleveland. With the aid and technology of computers today, I was able to find my path here and show to my daughter some proof of a event that had taken place when I was a young boy living on Midvale Ave. Through this same technology and satelite imagery, to discover the changes that has taken place in the old neighborhood since then. The houses are no longer there and have been replaced with ball fields. Only a small portion of Midvale street exists as access to these fields. Alot of changes have taken place, but the memories of my youth then remains.That was 45 years ago and I remember the Hartsells well. I remember Sandy, her younger sister and brother. If anyone who grew up on that street when I did and remembers me, I would like to take this opportunity to say hello and thank you for the many memories that you contributed towards my childhood memories I cherish to this day!