• Short Summary

    An American Air Force plane crashed on a Munich street and crushed a crowded tram, Dec 17.

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    Initials JRG/E

    Editors: We regret that this coverage is only in the form of an unedited sequence, due to circumstances outside our control.

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: An American Air Force plane crashed on a Munich street and crushed a crowded tram, Dec 17. The death roll was between 50 and 60 persons, according to a police report later that night - issued as rescue workers were still freeing bodies from part of the plane's crumpled fuselage.

    About 35 people died in the tram. Nearby, Christmas shoppers and motorists, struck by wreckage, met sudden death - police counted 12 broken bodies.

    The aircraft - a twin-engine Convair - had taken off from Munich bound for Northolt Airport, near London. Apparently an engine failed and the pilot was unable to avert the crash in the crowded city centre.

    A moment after the crash, there was an explosion - believed to be from a gas main beneath the street.- The crew of seven died with thirteen passengers - young American students flying to join their parents in Britain for Christmas.

    The crash and explosion caused an inferno to the tram - from which only a few passengers managed to scramble out - and it set afire a nearby tyre store. Firemen fought the blazes with foam extinguishers.

    The crash in a crowded city was the second in two days. It followed that of the mid-air collision upon New York in which 138 persons died. The two crash constituted the worst moments in the history of peace-time flying.

    Munich also remembers the 1958 air disaster with 23 dead in the crash of the Manchester United footballers' aircraft.

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