Disasters: Crowded Sky

As soon as it hit the forward fuselage of the three-jet Boeing 727, the twin-engined Cessna disintegrated in a yellow fireball. For a few seconds, the bigger plane looked like a wounded quail struggling for control. Then, still airborne, it too exploded, raining debris over a mile-and-a-half area near Hendersonville, N.C. "I could see bodies falling like confetti," said a witness. One crashed through the roof of a house. Another fell in a filling station, others on highways and trees. Miraculously, no one on the ground was injured. But all 82 people aboard the two planes died—including Navy Secretary-designate...

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