Tuesday, March 31, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Grand Canyon plane crash site designated historic

Grand Canyon Airplane Collision

This Sept. 12, 2013 photo released by the Grand Canyon National Park Service, shows a National Historical Landmark plate overlooking the east end of the Grand Canyon, Ariz. Two commercial airplanes, United Flight 718 and TWA Flight 2 crashed on June 30, 1956 over the Grand Canyon, killing all 128 people aboard in one of the deadliest aviation disasters in the U.S. On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the Grand Canyon National Park will mark the designation of the crash site as a National Historic Landmark in a ceremony overlooking the gorge where the wreckage was scattered over 1.5 square miles. (AP Photo/Grand Canyon National Park Service)

By
From page A14 | July 09, 2014 |

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. — The National Park Service created a national landmark Tuesday to commemorate a 1956 collision between two airliners over the Grand Canyon, a disaster that helped lead to major changes in aviation safety and creation of what is now the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crash killed all 128 people aboard the two planes in the deadliest aviation disaster in U.S. history at the time. A nation already struggling with increasingly busy skies pressured Congress for major changes to improve air traffic control and radar systems in response to the tragedy.

About 200 people gathered Tuesday for a ceremony overlooking the gorge where the wreckage was scattered over 1.5 square miles. Park rangers set up binoculars so people could get a closer look at the buttes where the planes came crashing down. Some of the wreckage still remains in the canyon but is not visible from the overlook.

Mike Nelson, a nephew of one of the passengers, hoped the landmark would help bring new awareness about the crash to the tens of thousands of Grand Canyon visitors. He said most people he meets have never heard of the disaster.

“We are here to care about the victims again, to picture them walking the ground and to tell them how sorry we are,” Nelson said.

The park also unveiled a small marker at the overlook that reads: “This tragic site represents a watershed moment in the modernization of America’s airways, leading to the establishment of the Federal Aviation Administration and national standards for aviation safety.”

Some of the victim’s remains never were identified, and most of those that were have been buried together en masse at cemeteries at the Grand Canyon and the northern Arizona city of Flagstaff.

The United Airlines Douglas DC-7 and a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation both left California on June 30, 1956, eventually cruising at the same altitude — 21,000 feet — after the TWA pilot requested to fly above the clouds. Shortly before 10 a.m., both pilots reported to different communications stations that they would be crossing over the canyon at the same position at 10:31 a.m.

The Salt Lake City controller who had that information was not obligated to tell either of the pilots they could be on a crash course. It was the sole responsibility of the pilots to avoid other aircraft in uncontrolled airspace.

The investigative agency, the Civil Aeronautics Board, determined simply that the pilots did not see one another. The agency speculated that the pilots were treating passengers to views of the Grand Canyon while flying through scattered cloud buildup.

Meanwhile, pressure mounted on Congress to move faster to make air travel safer. In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Airways Modernization Act, and airliners were required to have flight data recorders. What’s now known as the FAA began operating late that year.

“It really did underscore for the general public, for the first time, that much of the air space in America was uncontrolled at that time,” said Peter Goelz, former managing director for the National Transportation Safety Board. “Once you got up to 20,000 feet and beyond the terminal radars, it was see and be seen.”

The investigators on the Grand Canyon crash pieced together what happened based on the wreckage. No one saw the planes collide.

The family of Leon David Cook Jr., a passenger on the United flight destined for Chicago, was huddled around the television that night awaiting word on what happened. The next morning, dozens of reporters were staked out in front of their Detroit home, said Cook’s son Ray, then 12.

The TWA wreckage was found first. More than a mile away and several days later, the United wreckage was discovered.

Ray Cook said the crash destroyed his family. His mother died 14 years later when she drove drunk off an embankment, and his brother committed suicide at 37. Cook, who broke free from heavy drinking after 25 years, couldn’t come to terms with the death for several years.

“I used to think every night that my father would walk out of the Grand Canyon, sunburned and scraggly, saying, ‘They screwed up, I’m fine, here I am,'” he said.

The recovery operation was one of the most extensive and dangerous in the history of the National Park Service. Rescuers had to contend with harsh terrain, swirling winds and the remoteness of the crash sites where the wreckage was twisted, broken and melted. United brought in a Swiss mountain rescue group and the Colorado Mountain Club to help.

Former Associated Press writer Frank Wetzel wrote of military personnel silently lifting olive-drab body bags into aircraft.

“It was my first look at Grand Canyon,” the 88-year-old said in an interview. “I hadn’t any concept of its grandeur. At the time, the wreckage was spread out because the impact must have been terrible.”

The crash sites near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers now are closed off to the public and being preserved for their place in history.

Grand Canyon National Park archaeologist Ian Hough said the sites can serve as a learning tool for understanding the significance of the disaster and its impact on families, some of whom shared their stories recently with park officials as part of an oral history project.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Records detail shooting victim’s court history

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 16 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Free Healthier Living workshops begin this week

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Frazier to deliver keynote at Solano EDC event

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10

 
25th annual Rush Ranch Open House on April calendar

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2

 
Helen Mirren film set for debut

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
 
Saturday Club schedules Shower of Flowers event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

WIB to host regional career fair

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Group plans Haiti missions fundraisers

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Travel presentation ready to roll in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
.

US / World

 
 
Ex-FBI agent sentenced to 10 years in Afghan kickback scheme

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
BNSF railroad adds new safety rules for crude oil trains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
California leaders routinely use private email

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Endangered bighorn sheep moved to Yosemite, Sequoia parks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Church van crashes into canal, killing 8 and injuring 10

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tennessee pastor, son who saved 3 boys among Carnegie Heroes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pentagon chief considers easing of enlistment standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
NSA: Car smashes into police vehicle at Fort Meade; 1 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Former Israeli Premier Olmert convicted in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prosecutors: Co-pilot treated for suicidal tendencies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Guinea shuts border with Sierra Leone in effort to end Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Saudi-led forces strike Yemen rebels, blockade ports

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Iran nuclear talks near deadline; differences remain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prosecution rests its case against Boston Marathon bomber

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Opinion

Rebuild Gaza to avert next war

By Former President Jimmy Carter | From Page: A13

 
Reid’s US Senate legacy: Obstruction

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A13, 10 Comments

State moves up national school spending chart

By Dan Walters | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: March 31, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Animal Planet lives wild with its new programming slate

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Attorney: Robin Williams’ wife wants to keep wedding tuxedo

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Eliane Elias enjoys musical homecoming on new CD

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
5 things to know about new ‘Daily Show’ anchor Trevor Noah

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 1 Comment | Gallery

TVGrid March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Four No. 1 seeds in the women’s Final Four

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
UConn reaches 8th straight Final Four with win over Dayton

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Grizzlies beat Kings 97-83 to end three-game skid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cauley-Stein, Kaminsky, Okafor among Wooden Award finalists

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Hendricks’ shutout streak ends, Cubs top Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Lawrie hits 2 homers as A’s rout Rockies 11-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Montoya has swagger back, but also shows softer side

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A year later than expected, Michigan St back in Final Four

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Connecticut governor: move ’16 Final Four unless law changes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders re-sign free agent defensive lineman C.J. Wilson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

2 Alabama players arrested in separate weekend cases

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Falcons fined, lose draft pick for pumping in fake noise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Racial quotas controversy re-emerges in South African sport

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL suspends Browns GM for texting, team holds onto picks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Kaminsky, Okafor lead 2014-15 AP All-America team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Ex-NASCAR driver gets jail after 3-state high-speed chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Nebraska, winner in 14 of last 15, at front of Big Ten surge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McGraw appreciates Notre Dame women’s run more than ever

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Gonzaga’s great season ends in Elite Eight but more ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
StubHub files lawsuit against Ticketmaster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

Judge again rules Joe Paterno can’t sue for contract breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Free agent linebacker Lance Briggs visiting with 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fiancee says she discarded box at Aaron Hernandez’s request

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
.

Business

US consumer spending edges up 0.1 percent in February

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
UnitedHealth bulks up for prescription drug cost battle

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Business forecasters boost 2-year outlook for US economy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Amazon.com offering to help get jobs done around the house

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

McDonald’s to test all-day breakfast beginning in April

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
SEC files fraud charges against Lynn Tilton, firms

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

US university, foundation invested in frozen Chinese stocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Regulators plan to drop case at closed California nuke plant

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Michigan entrepreneur claiming idea for Heinz Dip & Squeeze

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

For Better or Worse March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Garfield March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Zits March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Get Fuzzy March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Bridge March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Sudoku March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Baby Blues March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

B.C. March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Peanuts March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baldo March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dilbert March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Sally Forth March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Pickles March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Wizard of Id March 31

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Discover Solano Spring/Summer 2015

Ryde Hotel a speakeasy from the past

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS11

Walnut Grove shows a bit of historic Japan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS12

Fresh, fruity, summer and fall Delta pitstops

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS16

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Benicia

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS21

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Benicia Fire Museum

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS22

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Dixon

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Jepson Prairie

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS24

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Fairfield

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS25

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS26

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Jelly Belly Candy Co.

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS26

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Fairfield Aquatics Complex

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS27

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Travis Air Museum

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS27

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Suisun Valley

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS29

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Manka’s Corner

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Glashoff’s Studio

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS32

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS32

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Rio Vista

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS33

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Brannan Island State Park

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS34

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Foster’s Bighorn Bar

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS35

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Sandy Beach

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS35

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Suisun City

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Suisun City waterfront

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS38

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Rush Ranch

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS39

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Suisun Wildlife Center

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS39

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Vacaville

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS40

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Nut Tree Plaza

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS43

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Vallejo

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS45

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Bay Area Ridge Trail

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Solano County

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS48

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Western Railway Museum

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS49

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Golf Courses

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS49

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Grizzly Island

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS50

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Calendar of Events

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS52

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Winters

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Napa County

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS55

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Sonoma County

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS57

Discover Solano Spring 2015: Yolo County

By Daily Republic | From Page: DIS58