Rare pictures of the Empire state building plane crash

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The horrible aftermath, plane crashThe tragic Empire state building plane crash occurred on July 28, 1945. The B-25 aircraft dramatically rammed the renowned building. The incident took 14 lives.

A sad and foggy story

This story is well known. But Oldpics loves to retell it every time with new details and pictures. In addition to our various not-so-dramatic photographs of NYC.

World War II was almost over (there was still a month before Japan’s surrender) when the US Air Force bomber lost its focus in the fog. The plane crashed into the New York Empire State Building between 78th and 80th floors.

The building turned out to be harder than the plane. It fell apart. One of the motors flew right through the skyscraper and started a fire in a neighboring house. The second engine crashed into the elevator shaft and also started a fire there (coordinated actions of the firefighters extinguished it pretty soon).

All three pilots, unfortunately, were doomed. The eleven unlucky residents who stayed at the Empire State Building on that day survived the plane crash neither. Ironically, the Society for Supporting War Victims occupied these floors. There was also the National Catholic Council.

The horrible aftermath

The horrible aftermath.

Empire Building will stand. 

Nevertheless, the building’s survivability was the best. The skyscraper was again open to the public and tenants right the next day. Cynical journalists joked that the building got through the incident with minor bruises. Yet it took three months to completely renovate the damaged Empire state building after this plane crash.

Lucky survivor of the Empire State Building plane crash

Betty Lou Oliver, a lucky survivor of the Empire State Building plane crash

The lucky crash survivor

The story of the lifter Betty Lou Oliver is impressive. She was in the elevator car on the 80th floor during the crash. Rescuers accidentally put her in the second elevator, but the cables split, and the cabin flew down 75 floors (according to other sources – 79). Betty Lou Oliver miraculously survived! None survived such a fall before or after this day.

Betty Lou Oliver, several months after the incident

The recuperation of Betty Lou Oliver took several months. After all, she decided to returns to the scene of the tragic accident. Dec. 2, 1945.

Why did the Empire state building plane crash happen?

The crew commander William Smith decided to land during zero visibility. At the same time, he incorrectly interpreted the commands from the ground. He made a right turn instead of a left after the Chrysler Building (77-storey tower, which was the tallest one before the Empire State Building). When the pilot realized this mistake, he conducted an evasive maneuver. But he worsened the situation – one of the engines stalled, and the accident became inevitable.

Empire state building plane crash could take many more lives. But thanks God, it was a day off.

Clearing the Empire State building after the plane crash

Workers remove the remains of the B-25 Bomber on the 78th floor. 1945.

The whole in the roof of the PenthouseStudio

The whole in the roof of the Penthouse Studio.

Firemen preparing to extinguish the fire

Firemen and medical workers could get only to the 60th floor by elevator. They had to walk and carry all the ammunition the rest of the way up.

medics escort injured woman after the plane crash

The injured woman going downstairs at the Empire State Building. July 28, 1945.

An injured woman is removed from the Empire State Building after the B-25 Bomber plane crash. July 28, 1945.

An injured woman getting out of the crash site. July 28, 1945.

A man hovers over a piece debris from the B-25 Bomber near 33rd Street. July 28, 1945.

Remains of the B-25 Bomber near 33rd Street. July 28, 1945.

A man examines charred documents in an office in the Empire State Building after a B-25 Bomber crashed into the side of the building. July 28, 1945.

A man inspects papers in a room in the Empire State Building after a B-25 Bomber crashed into the side of the building. July 28, 1945.


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