Albany, NY Plane Crashes Into Houses On Landing Attempt, Mar 1972
The plane just cleared houses on the east side of the street and the left wing struck the front right corner of 48 Edgewood Ave., swinging the plane into the ROSEN home.
James Carnahan, director of safety programs for the Albany Red Cross, said when he entered the cockpit of the aircraft it "looked like it had been crushed like an eggshell."
MRS. Mary Pellebrino, of 51 Edgewood Ave., directly across the street from the crash site, said she heard no engine sounds at all. "I was in the kitchen when I heard this sound like water, a swishing, then a very large noise. I went into the living room and could see the plane across the street."
Police and firemen in large numbers rushed to the scene and most were at work keeping the hundreds of spectators from clogging the area and hindering the ambulances.
When the plane crashed there was no fire or explosion. One witness to the crash said there was a large cloud of dust.
MRS. ROSEN was found lying, bleeding, outside the crippled home. Her husband was discovered wandering around the scene asking for the two boys who had already been found.
A young married couple, identified as PETER and HANNA SURGENT lived in the upstairs apartment. Reports at the scene said MRS. SURGENT was found to be alive and later reports said her husband had been found with a broken arm.
The plane was a Mohawk Airlines Fairchild-Hiller, two-engine turbo-prop. The crash site is located ablout two blocks off Washington Avenue near the Albany State Campus, in an area of middle-income homes.
The site is separated from the airport by a slight rise.
Among the survivors is the stewardess, but officials have not released any names. A 10-man team from the National Transportation Safety Board, was dispatched to the scene to begin investigation.
The flight left LaGuardia Airport in New York City at 7:42 p.m.
Fire was one of the chief concerns of rescuers as they carefully cut through the wreckage and fuselage. Bystanders were told not to smoke and the smell of the kerosene-type aircraft fuel surrounded the area.
Power crews worked to shut electricity to the home to prevent short circuit sparks which could have set off an explosion.
The rescuers and medical personnel worked in a light snowfall and sub teen temperatures.
Thomas Gremer, a member of the Albany Rescue Squad, was one of the first to go into the fuselage to search for victims.
He described the interior as "a mass of bodies." He said he could hear voices, some persons crying, others asking, "Where am I?" or "What am I doing here?"
Gremer said the interior of the plane was "a mass of tangled debris. You had to take it apart layer by layer."
Another rescuer from a suburban fire department said he crawled into the side of the plane and found a woman trapped, the seat she occupied jammed sideways near the center of the craft.
Jim Basile, who lives a block from the crash site, said he heard the crash and ran to the scene where he and others "busted into the rear of the plane and got some of the people out."
Basile said, "We saw a stewardess in there under the baggage and got her out too. We started to go in for more of them but then the firemen came and we got out of the way to let them do their job."
Another neighbor, J. Robert Sheehan, said he was taking out the garbage when he heard the plane overhead.
"I'm kind of a plane buff and I could tell it was a turboprop in trouble," Sheehan said.
"I looked up and the plane was tipped to the left and the tail was down. Then I saw it go over the house, there was a thump and then dead silence."
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