Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Very Deadly Fog...!

This was a bad event, but it could have been much worse!

Just think how bad it would have been had it not have been on the weekend! Sort of reminiscent of 9/11, isn't it? You now, with all the skyscraper's in places like New York it's really a wonder that more accidents like this haven't happened. Guess We have been extremely lucky up to this point, right?

Jul 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 freak accident was caused by heavy fog.

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 high-octane 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. Other plane parts ended up embedded in and on top of nearby buildings. The other engine snapped an elevator cable while at least one woman was riding in the elevator car. The emergency auto brake saved the woman from crashing to the bottom, but the engine fell down the shaft and landed on top of it. Quick-thinking rescuers pulled the woman from the elevator, saving her life.

Since it was a Saturday, fewer workers than normal were in the building. Only 11 people in the building were killed, some suffering burns from the high-octane fuel and others after being thrown out of the building. All 11 victims were workers from War Relief Services department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, into the offices of which the plane had crashed. The three people on the plane were also killed.

An 18 foot by 20 foot hole was left in the side of the Empire State Building. Though its structural integrity was not affected, the crash did cause nearly $1 million in damages, about $10.5 million in today's money.

(In the original story as reported by, the term "jet fuel" was used! I have corrected that to read "high octane" fuel as was the correct fuel carried by the plane at the time)

So many factors were in place that kept this from being a major disaster. I would say that luck played a big part in it, for sure! I can bet that if this bomber had been carrying a couple of bombs, the damage and loss of life would have been off the charts!

Let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit! May have to move inside this weekend if the tropical storm comes in to Texas!


Ben in Texas said...

Of Course I've seen pictures and rad about that . Only issue I have with the story reprint is. Those engines were NOT Jet engines , thus the line about the "jet fuel" fire is false!!! That plane had 2 × Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14 radials, 1,850 hp (1,380 kW) each. To the best of my knowledge, the Jet engine wasn't developed for use on a US airplane until after the war despite several prototypes designed and tested.

Old Jules said...

Morning to you. Nice post. When I read it I was surprised to see them carrying jet fuel. I assumed until I saw Ben's comment that they were carrying POL or kerosene in the cargo bay and someone called it jet later. But after reading Ben's remark I'm inclined to agree it was probably their own fuel load of gasoline left over after a relatively short flight.

I haven't been up that way in a few decades, but I assume the Empire State Building hasn't been replaced by something glass and taller?

Hope your day's a good one.

Sixbears said...

It is one well built building, and that certainly helped a lot.

The building, while not all that tall by today's standards, is worth the visit. Certainly has a lot more character than new buildings.

JoJo said...

I read about this somewhere since it happened before I was born. really! But I am glad that Ben cleared up the bit about the jet fuel.
Good post.

Hope you had a good day yesterday. I know you will be well prepared for any tropical storm that may come your way.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
I went and did a little more research on the plane and the accident and you were right!

I have corrected the article to read "high octane" fuel! Thanks for calling the mistake to my attention, buddy!

I do appreciate your visit today!

Hey Old Jules...
Ben was correct and I have changed the post to reflect the correct term used for the fuel!

I should have had alarm bells going off when I read the article, but I was too lazy, I reckon!

Anyway, it's all corrected now!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
I've never been to New York, and so I've never seen the building at all, except in the movies when "King Kong" climbed up!

Pretty amazing for when it was built!

Many thanks for coming by today!

Hey JoJo...
I think we hawve the whole fuel situation straightened out! Glad Ben was paying attention and pointed out the mistake!

Maybe at least we'll get some rain out of the whole thing!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

Marjie said...

I'll bet you're hoping that storm comes to Texas! Y'all could surely use the rain! I'm not short of rain here.

HermitJim said...

Hey Marjie...
I'm getting rain here even as we speak! Thunder and rain...perfect weather for taking a nap!

I know the plants will sure be eating (drinking) all this moisture right up! Nothing is better than nature's own watering system!

Thanks for coming over today!

Ted said...

That building has all way fasinate me.It was built in little over a year an only 5 workers was killed building it.Theres an interesting article some wheres on the iron workers which was mostly Mohawk Indians.I myself have worked on just one hot rivet steel job many years ago.