"Read before traveling to New York" by Ace Preston
Read this before traveling to New York..
Case Study of New York related Plane Crashes - from Ace Preston's "Death from Above" series
Statistically speaking plane crashes in and out of New York are quite common when compared to other major cities. Long before the World Trade Center Incident of 9/11/01 a U.S. Army B-25 Mitchell bomber piloted by Lt. Colonel William Smith smashed into the north side of the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945. At the time the Empire State Building had been the tallest building and manmade structure in the world.
Immediately after 9/11/01 on 11/12/01 American Airlines Flight 587 Airbus A300 en-route to the Dominican Republic crashed into a row of houses in Belle Harbor Queens shortly after take off from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. All 260 passengers on board died to include 5 people on the ground.
Another incident which occurred on 7/17/96 was that of Flight 800 en-route to Rome Italy via Paris France mysteriously blowing up over the Atlantic after take off from J.F.K. The Olympic Games were to open two days later in Atlanta Georgia. All 230 passengers on board perished.
I don't find much amusement in plane tragedies. It is a terrible way to die especially if there are children on board.
One incident which I do find interesting though is a lesser known plane crash which occurred on the morning of December 16, 1960 when two commercial airplanes collided over New York Harbor.
One of the planes involved was a TWA Constellation which eventually crashed onto a military airfield located in Staten Island, however, the other plane, a United Airlines DC-8 after an abortive attempt to land in Prospect Park crashed on the corner of 7th Avenue and Sterling Place Brooklyn. A total of 84 passengers died as well as 6 people on the ground. More than ten buildings were consumed by the resulting fire to include a church and a funeral home rendered useless for such an ironic event.
The exact spot of the crash remained an empty lot for over 40 years. Today a condominium stands in it's place filled with transplanted yuppies who proclaim that such a location is ideal and safe in that the odds of a secondary plane crash would be astronomical.
Pilots and Timing are your best analyzer in understanding why some planes crash.
Avianca Flight 52 a Boeing 707-321B from Bogota Columbia to John F. Kennedy via Medellin crashed on 25 January 1990 into the town of Cove Neck Oyster Bay Long Island, New York after running out of fuel. A total of 8 out of 9 crew members and 65 of 149 passengers on board were killed. A report on the accident determined the cause as pilot error due to the crew never declaring a fuel emergency but in fact it was due to language differences in the Spanish-speaking pilots and English-speaking Air Traffic Controllers.
Some planes never even make it off the ground like US Air Flight 5050 headed for North Carolina September 1989 departing LaGuardia Airport from infamous "Runway 13" . The Boeing 737 plunged into Bowery Bay when the pilot aborted the takeoff slamming into the water and broke into three parts as it hit a light stanchion and pier in the water killing two women who took seats at the precise spot where the plane split.
How about USAir Flight 405 March 1992 bound for Cleveland. The Fokker F28-4000 also crashed into Bowery Bay on takeoff also from "Runway 13-31", killing 27. Eighteen died drowning while trapped in their seats while others with their seat belts on were missing limbs and decapitated.
Sometimes you don't even need a plane to have a flight related tragedy. Like on December 29, 1975 at LaGuardia Airport a blast ripped apart the main terminal building killing 11 people and injuring 58. The bomb was inside the baggage area of TWA’s lower concourse. After years of intensive investigations the police investigators suspected a Croation terrorist group and it was never discovered whether the bomb was intended for the terminal or to go off in-flight.
However Pan Am Flight from London to John F. Kennedy Airport was destroyed by a bomb while in-flight on Wednesday 21 December 1988. All 243 passengers and 16 crew members on-board the Boeing 747-121 were killed as well as eleven people on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland when large sections of the plane fell upon the town.
Unusual turn of events can also occurred at airports. Take the coffee shop at New York's La Guardia Airport. On Jan. 11, 1975 an aide to then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met an emissary from the Cuban Communist Party in a last effort towards talks and secret negotiations. Negotiators later on met in New York hotels and private homes for several months till Fidel Castro sent troops to Angola and the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam.
New York has had plenty of terrible incidences when it comes to plane tragedies but what kind of karma would you expect from a city who names it's airports after an assassinated president or a Runway after the number "13".
John F. Kennedy International Airport had been previously renamed twice. It was originally known as Idlewild Airport and was later on renamed "Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport."
Recently at the cost of $4 million from state funds the Triborough Bridge near both airports has been renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge.
The disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer who resigned in March 2008 made this proposal in his January 2008 State of the State Address. If this still doesn't make much sense it is simply history repeating itself.
When the Triborough Bridge first broke ground on October 25, 1929, then corrupt NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker just one day after "Black Thursday" the event that helped trigger the Great Depression initialed $5.4 million allocated by New York City for construction of the new bridge of which most of the funds went to counsel fees and condemnation awards.
If a bridge is to be renamed it should have been that bridge at Chappaquiddick in Martha's Vineyard. It should have been named after MaryJo Kopechne not after a Kennedy.
Mary Jo Kopechne attended a party on July 18, 1969, the fourth such reunion of the Robert Kennedy campaign workers. She left the party at 11:15 p.m. with Ted Kennedy, Robert's brother. Kennedy drove his vehicle off an unlit bridge without guardrails which overturned in the water. Kennedy extracted himself from the submerged vehicle but Kopechne died. Kennedy failed to report the incident to the authorities until the car and Kopechne's body were discovered the next morning!
Ted Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury and received a two month suspended sentence. In the late 1980's I went to photograph the bridge at Chappaquiddick but it had been dismantled and the surrounding area fenced in. I walked only a couple of blocks away and located the local police precinct. I didn't want to waste anymore time on the Kennedy's. They seem to be a very powerful family in Massachusetts and Boston ain't Havana besides Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr. the eldest of nine Kennedy children died as a Naval Aviator during "Operation Aphrodite" World War II on August 12, 1944. Although he was eligible to return home after completing 25 combat missions he had volunteered for this final mission. His body was never recovered.
The last plane incident I found myself involved with occurred in mid afternoon just a few blocks away from where I was standing. Some hysterical bystander was shouting "A plane has landed in the Hudson River!" I wasn't in the mood to grab my camera and race to photograph another plane incident in NY. I reflected on Hemingway's "Death in the Afternoon". Had I known it would have turned out to be a story of survival perhaps I would have gone.
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