The Time A B25 Bomber Crashed Into The Empire State State Building

It may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but the twin towers of the (original) World Trade Center were not the first New York skyscrapers to get hit by an airplane.

In 1945, due to heavy fog, a US military B25 bomber plane crashed into the 79th floor of Empire State Building killing 14 people:

Photo: Creative Commons

Fortunately, the accident happened on a Saturday morning (just before 10a.m.) and therefore fewer workers were in the building. An 18 by 20 foot hole was left in the side of the Empire State Building causing nearly $1 million in damages ($10.5 million in today’s money). (the article continues after the ad)

Lt. Col. William Franklin Smith Jr., who was 27 at the time, ignored the air traffic controller’s warning for low visibility when flying from LaGuardia to Newark:

“We’re unable to see the top of the Empire State Building,” the controller told him. Smith flew anyway.

While flying through the dense fog, Smith maneuvered through Manhattan at about 225 mph. He missed a skyscraper on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street before pulling up and turning slightly left, this colliding head-on with the Empire State Building.

“The bomber gored through the thick steel and stone of the building as if they were papier-mâché,” TIME reported. “Then, in a flash of flame, the gasoline tanks exploded. In another instant flames leaped and seeped inside & outside the building.”

Here are some pictures from that day: 
* All photos by AP

And a coverage video of the event from the Associated Press:

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: How To Steal The Empire State Building In 90 Minutes

Photo: Marko Berndt, Chanan Greenblatt /
Sources: When an Army Plane Crashed Into the Empire State Building

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