By Wyatt Earp | July 28, 2010
Are you one of those folks who think 9-11 was the first time a plane struck a building in New York? If so, you would be sadly mistaken.
July 28, 1945 – Plane Crashes Into Empire State Building
A United States military plane crashes into the Empire State Building on this day in 1945, killing 14 people. The B-25 Mitchell bomber, with two pilots and one passenger aboard, was flying from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. As it came into the metropolitan area on that Saturday morning, the fog was particularly thick. Air-traffic controllers instructed the plane to fly to Newark Airport instead.
This new flight plan took the plane over Manhattan; the crew was specifically warned that the Empire State Building, the tallest building in the city at the time, was not visible. The bomber was flying relatively slowly and quite low, seeking better visibility, when it came upon the Chrysler Building in midtown. It swerved to avoid the building but the move sent it straight into the north side of the Empire State Building, near the 79th floor.
Upon impact, the plane’s jet fuel exploded, filling the interior of the building with flames all the way down to the 75th floor and sending flames out of the hole the plane had ripped open in the building’s side. One engine from the plane went straight through the building and landed in a penthouse apartment across the street.
The B-25 is not exactly a Piper. It’s a big bird, and I can’t imagine what the people in the area thought when they saw it hit the building. I mean besides thinking, “Oh crap!” It’s a miracle only 14 people died.