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.

Story "Killed".
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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Comments

Kotis

My great grandparents died on that flight. Their daughter, my grandmother is still alive and in her 90's. She obviously doesn't like to discuss what happened, and I was wondering if anyone had more information on this tragedy. My email is rasklar74@yahoo.com

1952 Elizabeth Plane Crash

Greetings John:

I was also 11 years old at the time of the Salem Ave. crash. The building that was hit is at 652-658 Salem Ave. I checked there recently and a tenet told me there is still a man living there who recalls the crash as a youngster.
I have a copy of an newspaper photo showing a group, (I'm included), signing a petition to close Newark Airport.

Best,
Jim Lowney
(732) 240-0448

60th anniversary

Today is the 60th anniversary of this plane crash. My grandfather was killed on this plane. He is the 4th casualty on the list, M.L. Field. I was not born yet, my mother was 15 years old at the time, I was born almost 8 years later and named after my grandfather (my initials are also M.L. and my hebrew name is the same as his). My mother, who is still alive, still talks about her Dad, she was his first born and they were very close. This tragedy had a tremendous effect on her (as can be imagined).

Elizabeth, NJ air crash, Feb 11,1952

I was eleven years old and was present at the crash site about 6 hours after the incident. I recall the U-shaped apartment bldg. which was set ablaze by the impact. My query is what was the street address of that building. Addresses are not mentioned in the articles that survive. Thank you.

Elizabeth, New Jersey Crash, 1952

According to the Aviation Safety network, the probable cause of this tragedy was the reversal in flight of the no.3 propeller with relatively high power and the subsequent feathering of no.4 propeller resulting in a descent at an altitude too low to effect recovery.