CATASTROPHES: Ice

The blackest day in U.S. airline history came with a great mass of cold air from the Arctic. It thrust a freezing finger as far south as the Texas panhandle, rested its chilly knuckles on the Great Lakes, spumed in ice, rain and mist where its skin touched warmer air.

Within 24 hours this Arctic fist (to weathermen, a "Polar Continental Air Mass") produced two disastrous crashes; 34 men & women died.

First to go was Northwest Airlines Flight 5. Westbound from Chicago to Seattle, around 2 a.m. the big DC-3 rumbled above the blotted-out field at Fargo, N. Dak. Captain...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!