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  • Writer's pictureCat T. Gardiner

The Big Apple's Story - #4

This is a little-known piece of The Big Apple's history ... and it sadly calls to mind the city and nation's greatest of all horrors and tragedies on American soil: 9/11.

Thankfully this accidental plane crash into the Empire State's iconic namesake did not bring the mighty skyscraper down, nor suffer such a loss of life. New York's most identifiable symbol, still stands on its bedrock foundation as a testimony of architectural marvel and the skilled labor of 3,500 immigrant men--mostly Italian, Irish, and Mohawk iron workers.

* * * B-25 B O M B E R C R A S H * * *

Next time you travel to Manhattan and you visit the 1,454 foot, 102-story Empire State Building, try to image the nightmare that ensued on July 28, 1945 when a B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the 79th floor! At 9:52 on a Saturday morning, the war plane was blinded by a thick fog as it made its way to Newark Airport. The pilot never saw the world's tallest building high above 34th St. and Fifth Ave. Upon impact, the fog, infused by the explosion, glowed a brilliant orange until the mist dissipated and the crowd below witnessed the horror.

According to one newspaper report: "So great was the plane's impact that one of its motors, hurled loose with projectile speed, tore nearly 100 feet through seven walls of the 79th floor and melted the suspension cables of three elevators before it landed with a final explosion on the roof of an adjacent 17-story building. The crash killed at least 14 persons instantly, including the three men aboard the plane, and injured 24, six seriously. "

That tragic morning several volunteers for the National Catholic Welfare Conference, which occupied the north side of the 79th floor were boxing soldier care packages when the bomber hit. There was, however, a miraculous survival when, after an elevator cable had been cut, a passenger withstood the free-fall and was ultimately thrown from the elevator car. She lived to tell her story!

Wow, just wow.

I promise for next time to post you something happy! Until then, kittens ... KEEP 'EM FLYING!

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