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Re: Friday, December 16, 1960

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Posted by Nate Goldman on Monday, December 16th 2019:

In Reply to: Friday, December 16, 1960 posted by Brooklyn Kid on Monday, December 16th 2019:

It is hard to believe that it has been fifty nine years, since that fateful day, of Friday, Dec. 16, 1960, on Seventh Avenue, and Sterling Place. It is very sad to have to relive it, but it is a part of Brooklyn history, and should never be forgotten. As bad as that accident was, it could have been far worse, as the United DC-8 Jet, could have crashed into downtown Brooklyn, on Fulton Street, where the streets were full of thousands of Christmas shoppers. It also missed colliding into a school full of hundreds of students, in Park Slope. In addition to the 128 people killed on both aircraft, six Brooklyn residents were killed on the ground, including the 90 year old caretaker of the Pillar of Fire Church, which the plane struck, a vendor selling Christmas trees on the sidewalk, a Dentist walking his dog, and three other individuals on the ground.

Recently, I read that the ER Physicians at Methodist Hospital, misdiagnosed the condition of Stephen Baltz. They were treating him for his burns. However, they failed to detect that he was suffering from pneumonia, as a result of his injuries, and that is what proved fatal. Today, in all probability, with modern medicine and trauma centers, he could have been saved.

The Captain of the United DC-8 Jet, and his crew failed to warn Air Traffic Control, (ATC) that one of their transponders was not working. ATC did not realize that the two planes were on a collision course, as radar, compared to today, was primitive. In addition, commercial aircraft at that time did not have automatic warning systems, which warn crews about pending collisions (they beep "Pull Up, Pull Up"). Also, the United Captain approached the NYC area at over 500 knots, which is today is twice the legal limit, which planes under 10,000 feet, are authorized to fly.

The above accident to this date, is the only one in the history of commercial aviation in the USA, whereby two commercial airliners collided over a major metropolitan area.

As I mentioned on this site before, the City of New York never erected any memorial to any of the victims, either in Brooklyn, or on Staten Island, where the TWA Constellation crashed. It wasn't until nine years ago, in 2010 (the 50th anniversary of the crash)m that the surviving relatives erected a monument in Greenlawn Cemetery to all of the victims.

For many years, the family of Stephen Baltz in Chicago, dreaded the anniversary of the accident, as reporters would not give them any privacy, or peace, and they would have to relive that mental trauma over, again, and again.

Reference ID: BK96075


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