Elizabeth, NJ 34 Killed In Another Air Crash, Feb 1952
It seemed to explode into fire with the impact, showering flames over the roof of the building. But only the heavy landing wheels and their gear struck the building. Wings and fuselage slid across the roof, flip-flopped, and smashed into the muddy play field of the orphanage.
The flames were licking along the outside of the fuselage, fed from the wing gas tanks. The impact checked them long enough for surviving passengers to save themselves and to rescue some who were injured too severely to move. Passersby rushed into the wreckage and one of them rescued MISS TAYLOR who was hanging upside down from the safety belt which bound her to a "jump" seat.
Meanwhile, the top floor of the apartment house already was roaring with fire. The occupants of the apartment hit directly were killed -- IRVING ZAHLER, 29, his wife, MARYLIN, 27, and their four-year-old son, MONTE.
FOSTER and his co-pilot, C. E. SINCLAIR, were among the dead. The flight engineer, I. R. SHEA, was missing and presumed dead.
The weather had nothing to do with the crash. It was a clear night when FOSTER gunned his big ship down the runway and took off at 12:18 a.m.
First Crash Dec. 16.
It was the third airliner to strike this city since Dec. 16 when an unscheduled four-engine liner crashed in the center of the city but on the bank of the industrialized Elizabeth River, killing its 55 occupants and an Elizabethan on the ground.
On Jan. 22, a two-engine American Airlines Convair smashed into a row of houses while trying to land at Newark on the radar beam in foul weather, killing the 23 persons on board, including former Secretary of War ROBERT PATTERSON, and seven residents of the houses.
Thus Elizabeth's own death toll stood at 11 citizens snuffed out from the sky in less that two months and the wave of indignation which had followed the second crash, was bubbling angrily within minutes after this morning's disaster.
A Congressional sub-committee was to have held a public hearing in Elizabeth Court House this morning to hear Elizabethans argue that any airport operating in the center of a heavily populated area has to be a menace to residents and should be closed.
The New York Port Authority, operators of Newark had prepared elaborate statistics and charts to demonstrate the safety of Newark and had turned them over to the press to be "held for release." When the hearing was cancelled, the Port Authority called newspapers with instructions to "kill" the presentation. At the same time, it shut down the port.
Two hours after the crash, firemen extinguished the apartment house fire. The top floor was gutted and the injured and the dead came from its apartments. But the whole building had shaken from the impact. Windows had shattered, doors had burst open. And the residents of the lower floors raced pell-mell down the stairs into the street, lugging babies and pets.
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