• U.S.

DISASTER: Ill-Starred

1 minute read

It was a routine training flight. On a sunny morning this week, the sleek T.W.A. Constellation, Star of Athens, swung low over the Brandy wine light, skimmed north up Delaware Bay. The lighthouse-keeper heard a jarring explosion, then two more. An enormous pillar of smoke shot up from the pool of gasoline flames on the water. By the time fishing boats and the Coast Guard reached the scene, all that was left of the Constellation and its four-man crew were some floating wreckage, a few bits of burned flesh and charred clothing.

No one was sure what had happened. The light-keeper thought at first that the explosions had come before the crash. Then he was not so sure. T.W.A. officials guessed from the shape and position of the wreckage that the low-flying Connie had caught a wingtip in the water, said it had plunged into the bay and then exploded. Whatever the cause, it was the sixth misadventure (TIME, July 22 et seq.) on the jinx-ridden Connies’ ill-starred record.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com