Chicago, IL Airplane Plunges into Houses, Dec 1972
Jetliner plunges into houses
CHICAGO (AP) - A passenger jet carrying 61 persons was winging its way through sleet and snow to a landing at Midway Airport when it plummeted down in a neighborhood of tidy bungalows on the city's Southwest Side, killing most of those aboard.
Among the 43 known victims was U. S. Rep. GEORGE W. COLLINS, D-Ill., while MICHELLE CLARK, a CBS television news correspondent, was among the bodies tentatively identified at a morgue Friday night.
The survivors who were aboard the United Air Lines Boeing 737 jet were admitted to a hospital for treatment.
It was not immediately determined if any residents of the neighborhood were killed when the two-engine plane skimmed over the roof of one home Friday and sliced through five other houses about a half-mile from the airport.
The tail section extended from one house and the shattered nose rammed through a home and came to rest in an alley.
At least 20 persons resided in the section of homes, but many of the wives and husbands were either working or en route to schools to pick up the children when the crash occurred.
MARVIN ANDERSON, a survivor treated and released from Holy Cross Hospital, said he sensed something was wrong when the pilot revved the engines in what ANDERSON thought was a "hopeless effort to abort the landing."
"Only about five seconds after the engines were revved the plane went into a stall, the nose of the plane went up and the tail went down .. then the tail hit a building and we crashed," ANDERSON said. â€œBut it seemed to me the landing was smooth."
ANDERSON, who suffered a sprained ankle, said he just got up and walked out of the plane and that he could not remember any panic after the crash.
"Then all we saw was flames outside and I remember thinking to myself that this is the end of it," he said. "I realized then that we were looking at the inside of a house."
The log book kept by the pilot, W. L. WHITEHOUSE of Springfield, Va., believed among the dead, was found by one of the scores of Chicago firemen who rushed to the scene after the crash ignited fires in several homes on W. 70th Place.
The Federal Aviation Administration reported no irregularities in the conversation between Flight 553 and the Midway tower during the flight approach. The ceiling was 500 feet and visibility was one mile.
A spokesman for Boeing said this was the first crash of a 737 in which there had been fatalities. The plane can carry 94 passengers.
The plane was on a flight from Washington to Omaha, Neb., with a scheduled 3:31 p. m. EST stop at Chicago.
A team of federal investigators sent to the scene worked through the night in efforts to determine the cause of the crash.
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