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280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Grit: December 6, 1959 – In the Aftermath of Air Tragedy

Major disasters have been rare in this region. Fortunately when they happen—flood, fire, the air—they are always met with resourceful action. Such was the case in the ordeal of the last week. From the first grim confirmation of the Allegheny Airlines crash that claimed 25 lives, organizations and individuals charged with such emergencies worked quickly,

Major disasters have been rare in this region. Fortunately when they happen—flood, fire, the air—they are always met with resourceful action.

Such was the case in the ordeal of the last week. From the first grim confirmation of the Allegheny Airlines crash that claimed 25 lives, organizations and individuals charged with such emergencies worked quickly, competently and with quiet heroism until the last harrowing detail was cleared up.

Additionally, a great number of volunteers gave willing, selfless and courageous service. It is impossible to list them all, but the community can be proud of the good job that was done.

Teams of investigators have been at work seeking to determine the exact cause of the tragic crash and why the ill-fated airliner took such a strange course immediately preceding the crash into the mountain. Whatever, the findings they reach, they cannot cloud a splendid safety record — both for Allegheny Airlines and the Williamsport-Lycoming County Airport.

Allegheny’s record is one of the best in the U.S. Until last week the planes had flown for 10 years, carrying 2,339,328 passengers a total of 535,921,640 miles without a fatal accident. The tragedy was also the first involving a commercial airliner since the airport was opened and dedicated 30 years ago.

Operation of the new control tower at the airport, which began effective at Friday midnight, will add even further to overall safety of the Montoursville field.

Handling some 8,000 commercial flights into and out of Williamsport in a year, our airport is one of the most active small airports in the nation. An efficiently organized control tower is imperative for such as busy facility.

Compiled by Lou Hunsinger Jr.

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