Fifty years ago, United Airlines flight 826 (DC-8-11 N8013U Mainliner Will Rogers, SN 45290 / LN 22), flying from Chicago O'Hare to New York's Idlewild Airport collided with TWA flight 266 (L-1049 Super Constellation N6907C Star of Sicily, SN 4021), flying from Dayton to La Guardia via Columbus. The collision occurred at 10:33 am in clouds 5,200 feet AMSL over Staten Island.
The TWA Super Constellation broke into three major pieces with much of the wreckage crashing into the northwest corener of Miller Army Air Field, killing all 39 passengers and 5 crew. The United DC-8 continued for approximately 9 nautical miles before crashing into into the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, killing 76 passengers, 7 crew, and 6 people on the ground. The only survivor was 11-year old Stephen Baltz, who succumbed to his injuries the next day.
The 134 fatalities made it the deadliest US aviation accident at the time. The accident was also notable for being the first time that a flight recorder (from the United DC-8) was used in the investigation of an airline accident.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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