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American Airlines Flight 1 disaster...

Item # 558361

March 1, 1962

LEOMINSTER DAILY ENTERPRISE, Massachusetts, March 1, 1962

* American Airlines Flight 1 disaster
* Jamaica Bay New York
* Boeing 707-123 airplane crash

This 8 page newspaper has a five column headline on the front page: "Jet Airliner Plunges into Swamp At Edge of New York City; 95 Die" with subhead: "Craft Burns With No Sign Of Survivors"

Other news of the day throughout. Good condition.

wikipedia notes: American Airlines Flight 1, registration N7506A, took off from Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport) on March 1, 1962. The Boeing 707-123 was headed to Los Angeles International Airport with 87 passengers and 8 flight crew onboard.[1]

"The plane was making a right turn over Queens when it suddenly plunged nose-down from a height of 500 to 800 feet. None of the 87 passengers and eight crew members had a chance as the airline dove into cold blue water only 50 feet from shore. The plane exploded into flaming fragments that scattered over Pumpkin Patch Channel and the nearby marsh. More than 600 police officers, firemen and rescuers swarmed over the wasteland area, a half-mile from the nearest homes and Cross Bay Boulevard, an important north-south thoroughfare. Police and Coast Guard helicopters churned low over the waters, signaling where bodies might be found.

"At the time, President Kennedy called upon the Federal Aviation Agency to do all it could to prevent a repetition. Najeeb E. Halaby, the FAA administrator, who said he had reported to the White House by telephone, said Mr. Kennedy was 'deeply affected' by the crash. 'The President has instructed us to do everything within our power to prevent a recurrence,' he added. The administrator spoke at a lengthy press conference last evening at the Federal Building of the airport. It was made clear that the cause of the crash was a complete mystery.

"There was no emergency radio message from the crew, nor was there any indication of an explosion or fire in flight. And there were no reports that the take-off and climb had been anything but normal. These were the chief facts that emerged from the news conference held by Mr. Halaby and Alan S. Boyd, Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, which is in charge of the inquiry. With no major clue at hand, the immediate goal of the investigators was to recover the automatic flight recorder that all jetliners are required to carry.

"The disaster occurred on beautiful sunny morning with clear blue skies; the first fair day after almost a week of rain and fog that that had delayed or canceled hundreds of flights." <"The New York Times," March 2, 1962>

It was later discovered that an improper maintenance technique resulted in internal wiring damage and rudder failure, causing the Boeing 707-123 to nose-dive into Jamaica Bay. Among the victims were multi-millionaire oilman W. Alton Jones (who was flying to meet former President Dwight D. Eisenhower for a fishing trip) and Louise Lindner Eastman (whose daughter Linda Eastman would later marry the Beatle Paul McCartney). Also on board were retired Admiral Richard L. Conolly, president of Long Island University and two-time Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, film producer (The Guns of Navarone) Irving Rubine, and millionaire realtor Arnold Kirkeby, former head of the Kirkeby chain of luxury hotels, and whose residence was used as the Beverly Hillbillies ' mansion.[2] [3] The crash, coincidentally, took place an hour before U.S. astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. was to be honored with a ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan for his successful manned space flight aboard the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962 [1]; the first space mission to place an American in orbit around the Earth.

The flight number is still used as of March 1, 2009 on its New York JFK/Los Angeles LAX route; American Airlines Flight 1 is currently operated with a Boeing 767-223ER at approximately 9:00am daily.

At the time, it was the worst air accident involving a single plane in the history of U.S. commercial aviation.[1][4]

That record would be broken just three days later when Caledonian Airways Flight 153, a Douglas DC-7, crashed into a jungle swamp at Douala, Cameroon, killing 111.

Category: The 20th Century

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