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Humpday History Highlight

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.

Topics: HHH | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. Rick Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. CaptainAmerica Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Landmark job in the history of firefighting. The building basically shrugged off the hit due to the construction and the firefighters were able to contain the fire. I think I remember it only went for three alarms. Those firefighters were bad ass!

  3. JCM Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    B-25 Mitchell power by Wright Cyclone R-2600 14 cylinder radial piston engine. This engine required 100 octane aviation gas.

    Much more volatile than jet fuel which is kerosene and closer to diesel fuel than gasoline.

  4. DarkLordOfTheIntarWebs Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 9:57 am

    When I heard the news reports on 9/11/01, this was actually the first thing I thought of (that, and that some heads would roll at air traffic control that afternoon).

    I’d be hard pressed to call it innocence, but there you have it.

  5. richard mcenroe Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    B-25 gross weight 27,000 lbs, cruising speed 230 mph

    737 gross weight 137,000 lbs, cruising speed 485 mph

  6. Wyatt Earp Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Rick – You’re welcome.

    Captain – That’s back when men were men. Not wussy tea-drinking folks.

    JCM – So you’re saying it was a hell of a fire, then. Still badass from the firefighter’s point of view.

    DarkLord – I remember someone telling me about it, but this is the first time I read the story.

    Richard – Still a hot mess of a wreck. Probably freaked a lot of people out, too.

  7. Heltau Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I wonder if the truthers of yor blamed this crash on the sitting president in the oral office. That it was an inside job done with the help of the oral office and all his friends in government.
    Just wondering.

  8. Wyatt Earp Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Heltau – Truman lied, people died!