New York City, NY Cargo Plane Crashes, Apr 1952



New York, April 6 (AP) -- A low flying cargo plane, loaded with Easter flowers, smashed into the heart of the residential borough of Queens today, killing five persons and turning a block-long stretch of homes into flaming terror.
The twin-engine C-46 dived out of a heavy rain with a thunderous explosion.
It was the fifth airplane accident of its kind in the metropolitan area in less than four months and brought the total toll of bead to 124.
Killed today were the plane's two crew members, a police inspector and two occupants of houses set afire. The pilot was identified as WILLIAM B. CROCKETT, JR., and the police inspector identified as THOMAS V. BOYLAN.
Just as demands were made after three horrible crashes at Elizabeth N.J., for the closing of sprawling Newark airport, civic groups today called for the closing of nearby International (Idlewild) and La Guardia fields. Planes from both must fly over Queens, huge residential borough of New York City. Newark airport has been closed since the last Elizabeth crash on Feb. 11.
Today's accident occurred at 7:25 a.m., as the cargo plane was attempting to land at International airport.
The plane tore through a two-story home, and them split apart. The blazing fragments hurtled into three other houses.
One wing slapped a cruising police car, killing a police inspector.
Fire and smoke engulfed the whole block.
The plane, trying to recover from an abortive landing attempt at International airport thundered low over the roofs of a half-mile stretch of buildings, then crashed with a bomb-like explosion in Jamaica.
Many residents leaped from windows, as gasoline-fed flames and blinding clouds of smoke rose over the block. Hospitals counted six seriously injured. Improvised first aid stations treated dozens of others. Four homes were destroyed.
The plane narrowly missed an apartment house occupied by 250 persons. Police said if it had hit 100 feet away the death toll would have been in the hundreds.
The plane, owned by U.S. Airlines, a cargo carrier, had tried to land a New York International airport on Queens' south edge, but overshot the field.
The plane was inbound from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Part of its cargo of women's lingerie showered over the area, garments draping from tree limbs and telephone wires. They contrasted strangely with the mass of scorched, twisted rubble.
But dense smoke and fire camouflaged the scene of twisted wreckage and shattered homes for hours after the crash.
Center of the crash was at an intersection of 88th avenue and 169th street in the Jamaica section, near a busy subway terminal, and in a substantial middle-class residential section.
This is about 10 miles east of midtown Manhattan.
The roar of today's crash could be heard a mile and a half away.

Logansport Press Indiana 1952-04-06


hillside avenue plane crash 1952

I remember that morning well even after all these years. I lived on 168th. Place, mid block from Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue on the west side of the block. It was an overcast Sunday morning. Our kitchen was in the back of the house facing west and as I was eating breakfast I saw this plane approaching the house and I thought it was going to hit us it was so low, It just barely passed over and shook the house terribly. I was still in my pajamas and bathrobe and I ran out the front door and saw smoke towards Hillside Avenue which was only a short distance away. I don't remember if I changed my clothes but I remember going up 169th. Street I think and seeing houses wrecked, smoking with sides open showing interiors of the houses with furniture and debris all over the place. I was 11 at the time and as I type this it's almost like yesterday and I remember it so vividly.

My memories of the crash scene

I am a retired economist and business consultant but now I'm writing short stories. One is about a fictionalized pilot who is being interviewed. I dove into my past to pick out aviation episodes in my life and this crash was one of them. My father had a retail millinery store a few blocks from the site of the crash. His chief saleswoman lived even closer. That evening I went to the site of the crash.The image of the nylon stockings, part of the plane's cargo, hanging from the trees is something I have never forgotten. The destruction in this tightly packed residential/commercial neighborhood was significant. This never held me back from getting a private pilot's license and flying nearly 3,000,000 miles commercially.

Cargo plane crash 169th, Jamaica, NY 1952

I lived on 168th St , around the corner from the crash. My Mom and I heard the plane approaching (it sounded like it was going to crash into our house) The sound of the plane was frightening and we ran outside and saw it crash into my Nanas' former home on 169th St. Ladies garments were strewn all over the area and hanging on the surrounding trees. It was a sight I'll never forget. Thankfully, it missed a large apartment building across the street and the Subway at Hillside Ave and 169th. We were spared that day, thank The Lord.