Cleveland, OH Plane Crash Kills 7, Oct 1968


Cleveland, Ohio (AP) -- The parents and sister of a University of Notre Dame student were among seven persons killed Friday when a private plane crashed here and burned.
There were no survivors of the crash of the twin engine Beechcraft into a residential street near Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The party was en route to South Bend, Ind., to attend the Notre Dame - Illinois football game today.
The plane left the Linden, N.J., airport where Manager ROBERT MEYER said it was piloted by the owner, CHRISTOPHER CORDARO, Little Silver, N.J.
CORDARO'S son, LEONARD, is a Notre Dame freshman.
MEYER said the others aboard were MRS. CORDARO; the couple's daughter, JOANNE; MR. and MRS. LOUIS COSTANZO, New Jersey residents; MISS JUDITH GUTTERIDGE, Oakhurst, N.J., and an unidentified girl.
Witnesses said the pilot apparently veered to avoid rows of houses north of Hopkins AIrport. Officials said CORDARO radioed shortly after 5 p.m. that one engine had quit. Just before the crash the plane was spotted coming out of an overcast with its nose down.
MARTIN HARTSEL, 17, said he was in his backyard and heard the aircraft "coming in."
The youth said, "It looked as though it was heading straight for our house. I ran to the back, and it hit."

Anderson Daily Bulletin Indiana 1968-10-19



Cleveland (UPI) -- A private plane bearing a Notre Dame University student's family and four others to the school for homecoming weekend crashed on a street in a residential area here last night, killing all aboard.
The craft, a twin-engine Beech King, was piloted and owned by CHRISTOPHER CORDARO, 43, of Little Silver, N.J., on a flight from Lindon, N.J., to South Bend, Ind.
Aboard were his wife, their daughter, JOANNE, a MR. and MRS. LOUIS COSTANZA,
of Colonia, N.J., and two girls identified as JUDITH GUTTERIDGE and MARY LOU DOLAN, who were to be the dates of LEONARD CORDARO, 18, and a fellow student.
The COSTANZAS were believed to be business acquaintances of the CORDAROS. Ages and addresses on the other victims were not available.
Cleveland Hopkins Airport said CORDARO reported to them that one engine of his craft failed as it was north of the airport and he requested emergency landing instructions. The airport tower held up the landing of all incoming planes while waiting for the disabled aircraft.
But before the plane was able to reach the airport, it dived into a residential area on the west side, hitting a car and truck, and exploding.
Cpl. James Wantz of the Ohio Highway Patrol said CORDARO might have been deliberately steering his craft away from homes.
"I don't know if he was trying to avoid the homes or could direct the aircraft, be if he did, he sure did a good job," Wantz said. "He didn't touch one of the houses. He hit at suppertime and everyone was probably inside their homes eating."
Henry Jakes was driving in the neighborhood at the time and witnessed the explosion. He said he believed everyone in the plane was killed instantly.
"I was looking right at it," Jakes said. "I couldn't see much of anything because of the flames and smoke, but I didn't hear any screams or anything like that."
"I looked through the rear view mirror and saw a large fireball and a lot of black smoke coming out," he said.

Chronicle Telegram Elyria Ohio 1968-10-19


Mary Lou

Dear Ellen, I was a classmate and friend of your sister's at St Agnes. Through the years I have often thought of Mary Lou and what a bright spirit she had. Just yesterday I was going through some old boxes at my parents. I found a letter written by Mary Lou to me when I was at Nazareth College. It is a happy letter filled with newsy bits and excitement about her trip. I am going to keep the letter. If you happen to read this post and would like the letter, it would be my pleasure to forward it to you. You can reply via the email on this site.
With happy memories of your sister,

Plane crash October 18, 1968 Cleveland, OH

It was not Westdale Ave. It was on Midvale Ave. off Rocky River Dr. about 3/4 mile from Hopkins Airport. The Cleveland Press, our afternoon newspaper at the time, showed the flight path the pilot was headed for. The skies were clear when that photo was taken the next day. You could see the runway the pilot was headed for in a direct line over our line of homes. The pilot was either trying to avoid hitting the homes, or made a last ditch effort to land in the street. No one will ever know what went on in the head of a man the last split second of his life. But no doubt, his actions saved my life and the lives of other neighbors who would have perished had the plane struck our homes. God Bless him.


Was this the plane crash on WestDale Avenue?.I was walking to my friends' house(she lived on WestDale)at the time We were almost to her house when The plane literally came down front of us.It's something that has been etched in my mind all these years also.

Mary Louise Dolan

Ellen if you see this please email me--Bobby Jegle Ocean Club "c' Court

1968 October Cleveland Plane Crash

My brother, Marty Hartsel, was actually in our front yard catching critters from our bushes for my camelion when he heard an unusual sound from a plane that was evidentally going to land at the nearby Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Marty looked up and saw the plane coming right for him and our house. In that monumental moment of fear he made a beline for our backyard. Then just seconds later the plane crashed. Thank God the pilot chose to bank the plane into the street instead of into my brother and our house. Our house was in the planes direct flight path to the airport. Most planes were back then. My father and sister were in the house at the time and would have been killed as well. Me and my family are very grateful for the pilots split second decision not to crash into our house. Sometimes I think the pilot must have saw the fear in my brother s eyes when he first saw the plane coming right for him. The pilot is truly a hero and our hearts and prayers were with all those that died in the crash and thier loved ones left behind.

1968 October Plane Crash - Cleveland

My brother, Marty Hartsel, was actually in the front yard catching critters for my camelion when he heard the unusual noise the plane was making. He looked up and saw the plane coming right for him and our house. In that moment of monumental fear he made a beline towards our backyard and within seconds the plane crashed. Thank God the pilot banked the plane into the street instead of into my brother and our house. Our home was in the direct path of the planes flight pattern. The pilot was a true hero in our eyes and hearts. I sometimes wonder if the pilot saw the fear on my brothers face when he looked up and saw the plane coming right at him and then made a split second decision not to crash into him and our house. As for me and my family and I'm sure of all the families in the direct area of the crash feel the pilot was a hero for what he did.

1968 plane crash october Cleveland

I was 11 years old and I lived in the house the plane would have crashed into had he not nosed dived into the street.It was my uncles truck and my brothers car .All of my family were at home at the time. I remember this tragedy every October 18 for the last 43 years.I say a prayer for Leonard. If not for his father's courage, my family would not be here today. God Bless You Leonard.

Hi I have waited years to

Hi I have waited years to find some type of information on my grandfather's death. I finally found this article. What paper would have this been in.
The info is wrong for Mr and Mrs Louis Costanzo
there names where
Mr and Mrs Lawrence Costanza and his wife's name was Martha and they were from Colonia, NJ..

name addition

thank you for adding this information. I will be trying to find an article with a complete listing of casualties ..

Unidentified girl

The unidentified girl in that plane crash was my sister. Mary Louise Dolan, 17 of Rockville Centre NY. Authorities were able to find out who she was initially because of her St. Agnes Cathederal High School Ring. There were radio and TV reports asking if anyone knew the girl from that part of the country that went to St. Agnes that might be on the plane. The parish priest heard the report and immediatly came to our home.