Chicago, IL Airplane Plunges into Houses, Dec 1972
'I don't known how I came out alive'
CHICAGO (AP) - Lying on her living room couch, CINDY SLADOWSKI heard a jet plane approaching, apparently gliding in for a landing at Midway Airport a half-mile away.
"I said to myself, 'That's low. That's real low. My God! That's low!'" MRS. SLADOWSKI said after a Boeing 737 had sliced through her house, leaving only one wall intact.
The Friday afternoon crash took the lives of at least 43 persons, all believed to be among the 61 persons aboard the United Air Lines jet. There were no reports of any occupants of the houses being killed.
Few people were at home in this working class neighborhood occupied primarily by descendents[sic] of Eastern European immigrants. Husbands were at work and children were just coming home from school.
"Then I heard crashes," MRS. SLADOWSKI said, "like metal crashing into concrete. Then the house jumped."
The plane destroyed two brick bungalows. Four others were severely damaged by the crash and resulting fires.
"I really don't know how I came out of it alive. I crawled out of the wreckage. I couldn't make it to the front door because there was plane all over there," MRS. SLADOWSKI said.
Once outside, she said she saw a stewardess helping two persons out of a plane door and then saw flames beginning to engulf the wreckage. The house next door was a pile of splintered wood.
"I ran towards the corner where my two children would be coming home from school and I yelled at the children to stay away," MRS. SLADOWSKI said.
She was not injured.
Across the street, HELEN PRISTADE was baking holiday cookies when she heard the crash. She ran outside and saw MRS. SLADOWSKI.
"She crawled out on her knees from under the plane," MRS. PRISTADE said. "She was alive. I don't know how she got out. I was miraculous.'
Two houses down the street, DIANE HAYNES said she "saw wood splintering. There was a crash and I saw a couple of people in the street covered with blood."
Others who lived nearby said the plane's engines didn't sound right: they would roar and then sputter, roar and sputter. FLORENCE STRYSIC said it sounded like a car engine dying out.
The Anniston Star Alabama 1972-12-09
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