Miami, FL Plane Crashes On Street, June 1969
11 KILLED WHEN PLANE GOES DOWN IN BUSY MIAMI STREET.
Miami (AP) -- A DC4 cargo plane trying to circle back to Miami International Airport with an engine afire crashed in a busy, building-lined street here Monday, strewing flaming debris and wreckage along a four-block path.
At least 11 people were killed, including the four crew members and seven people on the ground, said Miami police information officer Gaddy Rawls.
Another dozen were hurt and Rawls said reports of people who received minor injuries were coming in steadily.
Two of the victims were teen aged boys, killed when the plane demolished their father's automobile body shop. Two other people in the shop were killed, Rawls said.
He also listed a couple walking along the street among the victims. Another man was killed when he swerved his truck to avoid the plane and smashed into a utility pole.
Witnesses said the Carvan, a four engine plane converted for carrying automobiles and owned by Dominicana Air Line came down atop a three-story building about a half mile northeast of the airport.
The craft then skipped along the tops of several other buildings knocking off their tops. It mowed down telegraph poles and power lines and ignited gasoline spilled from overturned pumps at a service station.
The plane also spewed hundreds of gallons of flaming gas oline from its own tanks before it finally stopped in the middle of busy 36th Street in front of a used car lot.
Fourteen fire trucks sped to the disaster scene and every available police emergency unit in the city began aiding the injured and recovering bodies.
A Roman Catholic priest who arrived at the scene immediately after the first thunderous explosion said last rites to seven victims.
One building demolished was a two-story structure which housed the shop of CHARLES KNAPP. He survived the blast.
"Am I the only one that got out?" he asked a neighbor EDWARD BURMESTER as he staggered from the wreckage. His sons, CLYDE, 17, and CLIFFORD, 15, were listed among the victims.
The twisted wreckage stopped near 36th Street and 33rd Avenue, a scant two blocks south of the teeming Miami Beach Airport Expressway. Thousands of on lookers soon jammed the area. Their automobiles filled the huge parking lot of the Miami Jai Alai Fronton near the crash site.
Police cordoned off the area, covered the bodies in rubber shrouds and established an emergency command post at the scene.
"Wreckage is scattered along a four block area. It looks as if every building for five blocks was damaged. I can't count all of the burned cars in the street and on the lot," a reporter said.
A spokesman for the air line said the pilot radioed immediately after takeoff an engine was afire and he was trying to ditch the craft in the narrow Miami River, when he saw he couldn't make the airport.
A used car lot office was demolished and dozens of cars destroyed.
More than two dozen firemen and rescue workers dug into a 25 foot high pile of rubble and wreckage at the car lot.
Thirty-sixth Street is a main east-west traffic artery running toward the airport. The plane came down headed northwest.
Police said one of the injured persons was hurt when he attempted to swerve his car out of the planes path and smashed into a utility pole.
"Wrecked and burned cars are all over the place," said a reporter. "Every car in the lot was burned out."
The flaming fuselage came to rest at the edge of the street. One engine completely crushed one of the automobiles.
A witness, schoolteacher NORMAI WHITE, said she was conducting a government class on the fourth floor at the Aviation Building near the crash site.
"We saw the plane coming at the fourth floor level. I have 20 students in my class and as they saw the plane they all started yelling, so I ran to the windows."
"When I saw how low the plane was, I thought it was a crop-duster. The black smoke was coming out ... by then it had swerved away from the Aviation Building, and up a couple of blocks and then crashed almost immediately. It looked to us as though it exploded within seconds."
A spokesman for the airlines, said the plane was en route to the Dominican Republic with general cargo aboard. "We know they had an engine on fire and tried to make the river but that's all we know now," he said.
George Hurt of the FAA said the downed plane was Flight 401. He confirmed it was bound for the Dominican Republic.
Dominica Air Lines identified the four crew members as:
Capt. JORGE BUJOSA.
CARLOS BRADOS, the co-pilot.
CARLOS GONZALEZ, engineer.
CESR MOLINA, assistant engineer.
The Playground Daily News Ft.Worth Beach Florida 1969-06-24