Friday, May 22, 2020

490' Gasometer at 73rd and Central Park and a crashed B-24E


Anthony J. Mireles posted two photos with the comment:
20 May 1943. In what was the most spectacular aviation accident to occur in the continental United States during The Second World War, a Consolidated B-24E flying in instrument conditions collided with a 490-foot 20,000,000 cubic foot natural gas holding tower two miles southeast of Chicago Municipal Airport (now called Midway Airport) killing 12 fliers. The airplane took off from Fort Worth, Texas, on a navigation training flight to Chicago. When the airplane arrived at Chicago the crew discovered that the airport was closed due to poor weather conditions. The pilot was a unable to land. The procedure for a missed instrument approach was for the pilot to fly out a few miles on the runway heading and make a 180 degree left turn for the do over. The crew turned right and on the reciprocal course collided with the natural gas holder. The tank blew up violently, shooting flames over one thousand feet into the air. No one on the ground was injured or killed. The airplane collided with holding tank just to the right of the building in the photo just below where it reads "Chicago" on the top of the tank.


Dennis DeBruler commented on Anthony's post
It held manufactured gas instead of natural gas. The development of compressors that allowed pipelines to carry natural gas long distances is what made these things obsolete. The gas company still owns this land so that made it easy to find the gas holder in this 1938 aerial photo.

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