Pacoima, CA Jet Crashes into Schoolyard, Jan 1957
"There was a crash ... We lost our cockpit canopy ... Fire came in. There wasn't much time to think of anything. I guess I bailed out. I can't figure how we collided with that airliner ... I just can't figure it out."
The jet pilot, whose body was found in the wreckage of the plane in a foothill canyon was ROLAND E. OWEN, 36, a veteran Navy flier and the chief of production flight tests for Northrop.
Douglas officials said their crewmen carried no parachutes "because the flight was not considered dangerous. A recorder taped their last radio message:
"Mid-air collision ... Mid-air collision ... HOW (the plane's designation) ... We're going ... Uncontrollable ... Say good-by to everybody."
Killed in the DC7 were WILLIAM CARR, 36, the pilot; copilot ARCHIE R. TWITCHELL, 50, a colorful flier and part-time movie actor who made his first solo flight in 1923; WALDO B. ADAMS, 42, the flight engineer; and ROY NAKAZAMA, 29, the radio operator. All lived in the Los Angeles area.
The dead boys were RONNIE BRANN, 13, and BOB ZALLAN, 12, both of Pacoima.
The school grounds and the hospitals were scenes of anguish as parents swarmed about trying to find their children.
When Mrs. Virginia Brann was given the news at Sun Valley Hospital that her son RONNIE was dead her voice rose in a wail:
"Oh, no, no, no! I didn't even kiss you good-by this morning."
Alex Gorles, who lives across the street from the school, said watching the crippled plane plow into the boys at play "was the worst thing that ever happened to me."
"I saw the thing hit and bounce," he said. "I counted eight kids mangled. One of them had his leg torn off. They were running every way, like quail ... Then it hit."
One of the boys, TONY BARRIOS, 13, said he and all the other boys started to run when they saw the plane coming at them, streaming smoke and flames and emitting an unearthly scream.
"Then I dropped to the ground and covered my face," he said. "The gas was all over and the heat was terrific. Everybody was screaming. I laid there for a while and then I got up."
"I saw part of a body flying at me," said FLOYD NEGRETE, 12. "I tripped and fell and hurt my head and broke my left arm."
The Post-Standard Syracuse New York 1957-02-01
On January 31, 1957, a Douglas DC-7B operated by Douglas Aircraft Company was involved in a mid-air collision with a United States Air Force Northrop F-89 Scorpion and crashed into the schoolyard of Pacoima Junior High School located in Pacoima, a suburb in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California. By February 1, seven people had died and about 75 had been injured due to the incident. A 12-year-old boy subsequently died from multiple injuries from the incident on February 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1957_Pacoima_mid-air_collision