Nightly News   |  December 16, 2010

A look back at the Brooklyn plane crash

Fifty years ago Thursday, an air disaster over New York changed parts of the city forever, changing commercial aviation along with it. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Fifty years ago today, an air disaster over this city changed part of New York forever and changed commercial aviation along with it. It was a midair collision of a United Airlines jet and a still -- a still new DC-8 , by the way, and a slower propeller-driven TWA Constellation . The debris fell on two different city boroughs, Staten Island and Brooklyn , where it wiped out part of a city block and 134 souls were lost in all. It was, at the time, the worst air disaster in US history , at the dawn of the jet age. It was the first-ever use of black box technology, and it led to improvements in air traffic control . It was reported on at the time by Gabe Pressman , who is still on the air here at Channel 4 WNBC-TV in New York .

GABE PRESSMAN reporting: But sometimes one story crams all the drama of life into a few hours. One story runs the gamut of every human emotion. This is where most of that story happened, here at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Sterling Place , in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn .

That was our friend Gabe Pressman from December 16th of 1960 . Today in that Brooklyn neighborhood apartment buildings have been rebuilt, but the relics live on. They can still be found around the neighborhood, including what one resident says is part of a wing from the wreckage. There was a service today at a New York cemetery for all the