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Elizabeth, NJ 34 Killed In Another Air Crash, Feb 1952



Elizabeth, N. J. (UP) -- Four more bodies have been brought to the county morgue within the last hour, raising the plane crash toll to 34 died, the wife of county mortician ALFRED C. HAINES reported from the morgue.

Elizabeth, N. J. (UP) -- A third airliner crashed into this city early today. It killed 30 persons and injured 42. Elizabeth's two-month death-from-the-sky toll, caused by falling airliners, stood at 116.
So grave were the implications that adjoining Newark Airport, one of the country's biggest and busiest, was shut down immediately "in the light of these tragic events and pending further investigation."
Today's disaster plane was a DC-6 four-engine giant owned by National Airlines. It smashed into a four story apartment house in which 60 families were sleeping, two minutes after its take-off from Newark bound for Miami.

3 Babies On Plane.
Fifty-nine passengers, including three babies in arms, and a crew of four were on board. Twenty-four passengers, three crewmen, and three residents of the building were killed. Thirty-one passengers and nine residents were in hospital, some gravely injured.
In addition, five persons were missing and may prove to be dead. Several passengers and the pretty little stewardess, MISS NANCY TAYLOR, 22, were hardly injured.
The plane crashed two minutes after its take-off and was in trouble practically from the instant its wheels left the runway.
MISS TAYLOR said: "All of a sudden the engines sputtered and stopped and then we went down." A passenger said he saw the propellor of the far right engine turning in reverse. The pilot WAYNE G. FOSTER, radioed the control tower: "Lost an engine. Coming back."
Other passengers were conscious in the seconds before disaster, of the pilot fighting to keep his plane in the air. Some said he got no higher that a few hundred feet and MISS TAYLOR said it was 1000 to 1500 feet. Then, suddenly, the heavy plane "dropped like a shot," as one passenger put it.

Just Misses Orphanage.
FOSTER jettisoned his gasoline and it showered down on the roof of an apartment house. The plane wavered on, skimming roof-tops. It barely cleared the roof of an orphanage in which 60 children were sleeping, and smashed into a second apartment house, four and a-half blocks east of the first.

Continued on Page 2.


Elizabeth, New Jersey Crash, 1952

According to the Aviation Safety network, the probable cause of this tragedy was the reversal in flight of the no.3 propeller with relatively high power and the subsequent feathering of no.4 propeller resulting in a descent at an altitude too low to effect recovery.

Elizabeth, NJ air crash, Feb 11,1952

I was eleven years old and was present at the crash site about 6 hours after the incident. I recall the U-shaped apartment bldg. which was set ablaze by the impact. My query is what was the street address of that building. Addresses are not mentioned in the articles that survive. Thank you.

60th anniversary

Today is the 60th anniversary of this plane crash. My grandfather was killed on this plane. He is the 4th casualty on the list, M.L. Field. I was not born yet, my mother was 15 years old at the time, I was born almost 8 years later and named after my grandfather (my initials are also M.L. and my hebrew name is the same as his). My mother, who is still alive, still talks about her Dad, she was his first born and they were very close. This tragedy had a tremendous effect on her (as can be imagined).

1952 Elizabeth Plane Crash

Greetings John:

I was also 11 years old at the time of the Salem Ave. crash. The building that was hit is at 652-658 Salem Ave. I checked there recently and a tenet told me there is still a man living there who recalls the crash as a youngster.
I have a copy of an newspaper photo showing a group, (I'm included), signing a petition to close Newark Airport.

Jim Lowney
(732) 240-0448


My great grandparents died on that flight. Their daughter, my grandmother is still alive and in her 90's. She obviously doesn't like to discuss what happened, and I was wondering if anyone had more information on this tragedy. My email is

36 dead only crash of the 3 that had survivors

the plane ended up on the play field of janet memorial and across westminster ave.the apartment building hit faced salem ave..i was 12 and living one block over on union ave.this was a few hundred feet away.the fire filled the sky out in my back yard.

Re: Facebook discussions

The Facebook sites I grew up in Elizabeth, NEw Jersey and othe sites have discussed these three plane crashes .... I lived at 610 Salem Av in 1953-59 and my step-mother told me of these crashes and more specifically the one by the Janet Memorial home .... I also have some news photos of the crash site.

1952 Elizabeth Plane Crash

My Grandfather Steve Venturini survived the crash. He is best known as the founder of Steve's Sizzling Steaks in Carlstadt NJ. We still own the business and have a piece of the plane wreckage mounted on the ceiling in the dining room. I also made a montage of various newspaper articles regarding the crash on display.

658 Salem Avenue, Elizabeth,

658 Salem Avenue, Elizabeth, NJ

My father might have been the one that saved the stewardess!

One of my dad's best stories is of a plane crash in New Jersey and how he had helped pull people from the burning plane. When I finally found this article and read about the stewardess suspended upside down, I had a "Eureka" moment. My Dad MUST have been the one who freed Ms. Taylor. He described to me about how her inverted position made freeing her difficult. He said to me something about having to push her up, just a bit, to relieve the strain on the seatbelt. With her weight off the belt, he was able to release the latch.

My dad, who would have been 21 at the time, just dropped off his date (who would eventually be my mother) at home. While driving to his home, he saw the sky turn orange and thought it might have been an explosion at an oil field. However, he discovered the plane crash and started rescuing people with other witnesses.

I've been researching his story, now and again, but never found quite what my dad was describing until this article. My dad, who is described as a "passerby" in this article, is Russell Lisk. He will be entering hospice very soon, thus the motivation to look for this article. I am grateful to all those who wrote, archived, and eventually published this story. This HAS to the story he talked about.

article | by Dr. Radut