New monument marks anniversary of NYC air crash

In this Dec. 16, 1960 file photo, rescue workers search for survivors in the remains of the United Air Lines jet that crashed at Seventh Avenue and Sterling Place in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope after the airliner collided with a TWA propeller plane one mile above New York City. It was the deadliest air disaster up to that time, killing all 128 people on both aircraft and six on the ground. ((AP Photo/Ben Schiff))

December 16, 2010 9:00:39 AM PST
Bagpipe strains of "Amazing Grace" wafted through a historic cemetery Thursday as an 8-foot granite monument was unveiled in honor of the 134 people who died in the collision of two commercial airliners half a century ago.

The Dec. 16, 1960, crash of a United Airlines jet and a TWA propeller plane rained destruction onto a busy Brooklyn neighborhood. Victims' remains bloodied the snow after one jet hit the street at 200 mph, killing everyone on the planes and six people on the ground.

The memorial was held at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, the final resting place of many notables, including composer Leonard Bernstein.

One attendee, Kevin Root of Greenwich, Conn., was 5 years old when both his parents died on the United flight. "I thought I was over it, but you never get over it," Root said through tears.

In its wake, the crash left a legacy of improved air safety; it was the first in which investigators made extensive use of so-called black boxes and it spurred a revamping of the air traffic control system to prevent future tragedies.

The United plane destroyed at least 10 buildings when it crashed into the Park Slope neighborhood. The other plane, a TWA Constellation, crashed into a military air base on Staten Island.

The United flight had been en route from Chicago to what is now John F. Kennedy International Airport; the TWA flight was en route from Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, to LaGuardia.

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