Litchfield, CT. – April 3, 1973

Litchfield, Connecticut – April 3, 1973

 Bantam lake

     On the evening of April 3, 1973, a piper Cherokee 180 left Worcester, Massachusetts, bound for Stewart Airport in Orange County, New York.   It is believed there were three people aboard, one being a student pilot.

     Shortly before 10:30 p.m., the control tower at Stewart Airport received a radio call from a pilot stating that his aircraft’s wings were icing up and that he was loosing altitude.  The pilot gave his position as being “over the Litchfield area.”

     At 10:30 p.m. a witness reported seeing an aircraft plunge into Bantam Lake off Point Folly.  The water depth in that area is between 10 to 18 feet. 

     Connecticut State Police divers responded to the scene and recovered two bodies, one a 37-year-old man from Washingtonville, New York, and the other a 30-year-old man from Newburgh, New York.  It was reported that divers were continuing the search for a third man believed to have been aboard, identified only as a “student pilot”. 

     Source:

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Two Killed In Connecticut Plane Crash”, April 4, 1973   

 

South Windsor, CT. – February 23, 1919

South Windsor, CT. – February 23, 1919

 

     On February 23, 1919, two U.S. Army lieutenants took off from Hartford, Connecticut, bound for Boston, Massachusetts, to photograph the arrival of President Woodrow Wilson’s aircraft landing at Boston. 

     The pilot was identified as Lt. S. W. Torney, and the photographer was identified as Lt. Cundiff. 

     As the plane was en-route to Boston it developed engine trouble, and Lt. Torney was forced to make an emergency landing in a field on private property in South Windsor.  After inspecting the engine, it was decided that trying to reach Boston would be too risky, so Lt. Cundiff was told to stay behind and return to Hartford via trolley while Torney would fly alone back to Hartford with the airplane.     

     After making some minor adjustments to the motor, Lieutenant Torney took off and was approximately fifty feet in the air when his airplane suddenly lost power and crashed in another field about a quarter of a mile away.  The airplane suffered significant damage, but Lieutenant Torney was relatively unhurt.

     Lieutenant Torney stayed with his airplane to protect it from the gathering crowds until a local constable arrived.  

     Lt. Torney’s airplane had begun its trip from Mineola, Long Island, New York, the previous day with two others, all bound for Boston.  One of the three developed an overheated engine and was forced to return to Mineola shortly after taking off.   The other two made it to Hartford where they spent the night.  After receiving word of Lt. Torney’s accident, the third was sent to Boston to complete the assignment.  It was reported that it flew over the spot where Lt. Torney had crashed before proceeding to Boston.

     Source:

     Hartford Courant, (Conn.) “Army Airplane Wrecked In Fifty Foot Fall In So. Windsor Pasture”, February 24, 1919

 

East Granby, CT – November 12, 1995

East Granby, Connecticut – November 12, 1995

     On the night of November 11, 1995, American Airlines Flight 1572 departed Chicago bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. (Bradley Airport is located on the Windsor Locks/East Granby town line.)

     The aircraft was a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, (N566AA) with 73 passengers and a crew of 5 aboard.

     At 1:55 a.m. on November 12, Flight 1572 was making its final approach to Runway 15 at Bradley in scattered clouds when it struck a tree and instrument landing system antenna short of the runway.  The plane came down in a grassy area short of the runway on the East Granby side of the town line.

   Damage to the aircraft was substantial.  One passenger received minor injuries – there were no fatalities.      

     Source:

     National Transportation Safety Board Accident Investigation Report #NTSB-AAR-96/05, PB96-910405, DCA96MA008.

Stafford Springs, CT – April 15, 1949

Stafford Springs, Connecticut – April 15, 1949

     On April 15, 1949, a small plane carrying two men was en-route from Florida to Smithfield, Rhode Island, when they encountered foggy conditions over Connecticut, and crashed on a farm in Stafford Springs. 

     The plane, an Aeronca “Champion”, was a total loss, but the two men escaped with only minor injuries. 

     The pilot was identified as Peter J. Vecchio, 21, of Miami, Florida, and the passenger as Edward Hayden, 20, of Wallingford, Connecticut.   

     Source:

     St. Petersburg Times, “Pilot Escapes Plane Crash”, April 16, 1949

Lyme, CT – June 21, 1943

Lyme, Connecticut – June 21, 1943

   

P-47 Thunderbolt - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On Wednesday, June 23, 1943, two P-47B fighter planes assigned to the 326th Fighter Group, 322nd Squadron, based at Westover Field in Massachusetts, were engaged in a training flight over Lyme, Connecticut, when they collided in mid-air in the vicinity of the Lyme School.

     The pilot of one plane, (41-6035) Lt. Elmer Buss, was able to bail out safely, but the pilot of the other plane, (41-6052) Lt. William Carlton Ives, 21, was killed. 

     Lt. Ives is buried in Highland Park Cemetery in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. For a photo of his grave, see www.findagrave.com #86564235.   

     Source:

     The New Era, (Deep River Ct.)  “Pilot Dies In Crash Of Planes At Lyme”, June 25, 1943, pg. 1

 

Hartford, CT – February 3, 1930

Hartford, Connecticut – February 3, 1930

Brainard Filed

   

Issued In 1930

Issued In 1930

  On February 3, 1930, airmail pilot Carey E. Pridham, 29, took off from Newark Airport in a Pitcairn biplane bound for Brainard Filed in Hartford, Connecticut.  As he was attempting to land at Brainard, the plane struck an observation platform located on the roof of the field house, tearing off the left wing, and sending the aircraft into the Connecticut River about 100 feet off shore.  The plane landed upside down pinning the pilot inside.  By the time someone could reach the site by boat Pridham was dead.

     Mr. Pridham was born in Virginia, and lived in Lexington, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children.   He’d been flying for over eight years and had 2,500 hours of flight time.  He’d been flying the mail since July of 1929. 

     The aircraft belonged to Colonial Air Transport.

     Source:

     New York Times, “Mail Flier Killed In Hartford Crash”, February 4, 1930  

 

Greenwich, CT – November 8, 1957

Greenwich, Connecticut – November 8, 1957

    

DC-3 Airliner

DC-3 Airliner

     Shortly before 7:30 p.m. on November 8, 1957, a DC-3 aircraft owned by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was approaching Westchester County Airport in heavy rain in anticipation of landing.  Visibility was poor, and cross winds buffeted the aircraft. 

     Westchester County Airport is located in White Plains, New York, almost directly on the New York- Connecticut state line.  Just as the aircraft was about to land, a gust of wind pushed it off course, sending it over Hangar D and crashing onto King Street (AKA Route 120A) in the town of Greenwich. 

     The aircraft was a total loss, but fortunately all four persons aboard suffered only minor injuries.   (Pilot, co-pilot, and two passengers, both of which were top executives for RCA.)

     Source:

   New York Times, “Wind-Buffeted DC-3 Falls In Greenwich”, November 9, 1957

Windsor, CT – August 3, 1928

Windsor, Connecticut – August 3, 1928

     On August 3, 1928, actor Fred Stone was piloting an airplane over Windsor, Connecticut, when it crashed in a field in the Poquonock section of that town.  Stone suffered numerous broken bones and was admitted to a hospital in critical condition, but he survived his ordeal.    

     Stone was a famous vaudeville and later film actor.  He passed away in 1959. 

     Source:

     New York Times, “Injuries May Keep Fred Stone Off Stage”, August 5, 1928 

    

New Milford, CT – September 11, 1987

New Milford, Connecticut – September 11, 1987

     At about 9:00 a.m. on September 11, 1987, a Piper Cherokee crashed in the Gaylordsville section of the town of New Milford.  The plane had been en-route from Hyannis, Massachusetts, to Dutchess Co. Airport in upstate New York when the accident occurred. 

     The body of an unidentified man was found in the wreck.   

     Source: New York Times, “A Series Of Crashes Of Private Aircraft Kills At Least Three”, September 13, 1987  (The article covered other crashes besides this one.)

Sikorsky Memorial Airport – April 27, 1994

Sikorsky Memorial Airport – April 27, 1994

Town of Stratford, Connecticut

     On the evening of April 27, 1994, a chartered passenger plane with nine people aboard left Atlantic City, New Jersey, bound for Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, Connecticut.  (The aircraft was a twin-engine Navajo Chieftan.)

     Shortly before 11:00 p.m. as the plane neared Stratford, it encountered heavy fog conditions with only 100 feet visibility.  The control tower at the airport had closed at 10:30 p.m., and was unmanned as the plane approached, leaving the pilot to attempt the landing unaided.

     Due to the age of the aircraft, it did not contain a “black box” or other data recording devices, so it’s unclear if the pilot attempted to abort the landing while over the runway, or simply overshot it due to poor visibility.   What is known is that the aircraft crashed into an eight-foot metal barrier placed on an embankment at the end of the runway, and exploded.  Some of the debris went over the embankment and landed on Main Street which was just beyond the barrier.  

     Seven of the nine people aboard were killed in the crash, but two survivors were taken to Bridgeport Hospital in critical condition with severe burns.  One of them died hours later.

     Their names were not immediately released.

      Sources:

     New York Times, “Seven Killed In Fiery Crash Of Airplane”, April 28, 1994

     New York Times, “Cause Is Sought In fatal Crash Of Airplane On Casino Trip”, April 29, 1994

     New York Times, “Flawed Airport Design Is Called Cause Of 8 Deaths In Crash”, December 14, 1994

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲