Was there a plane crash here in the 1960s?
AT ABOUT 4:20 PM on December 4, 1965, Eastern Air Lines flight 853, a Lockheed Super Constellation, was headed southwest from Boston toward Newark with 54 people aboard. The tri-tailed propliner was at 10,000 feet when the pilots, Capt. Charles White and First Officer Roger Holt, spotted a TWA 707 close and converging rapidly. “Look out!” Holt shouted, whereupon he and White pulled hard on their control wheels. Unfortunately, the two airplanes sliced into each other.
Although their aircraft lost some 25 feet of its left wing, the TWA crew managed to land their crippled jet
at JFK. The Eastern crew was not so fortunate. Its tail had taken a direct hit, but the pilots managed some control by jockeying their four throttles. Descending over Danbury Airport at 2,000 feet, White told the passengers a crash was imminent. Spotting a pasture two miles ahead—halfway up Ridgefield’s Hunt Mountain—he used asymmetric thrust to align his aircraft and moments before impact, jammed the throttles forward, thereby pitching the nose up, and allowing the Connie to pancake on to the upslope.
The aircraft’s wings struck trees, tearing loose all four engines and breaking the fuselage into three sections, but seemingly everyone aboard miraculously survived the impact and exited the wreckage. However, when White learned that one passenger remained trapped within, he re-entered the burning hulk—and died there. Two other injured passengers later succumbed at Danbury Hospital.