HEROES: Take Your Time

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Afterward, one passenger remembered seeing "the fence coming" and hearing someone yell: "We're going to crash." Within seconds, the National Airlines DC-4 was skidding along the sleet-coated runway of Philadelphia's International Airport. It ran off the runway, through a ditch. Its landing gear disintegrated, flames shot from a ruptured fuel tank.

Stewardess Mary Frances Housley threw open the door. Men & women rushed for it. One woman jumped with her coat on fire, tore it off and ran from the scene. Pretty, 24-year-old "Frankie" Housley stood by the door, coolly advising her passengers to "take your time." One panic-stricken woman crawled along the aisle away from the door and toward the nose of the plane. Another woman screamed: "Get my baby." Frankie could have jumped. Instead, she turned back into the flaming cabin.

When the wreckage had cooled, firemen climbed in to bring out seven bodies­five women, two infants. One of the women was heroic Frankie Housley. She was found lying in the aisle with the body of four-month-old Brenda Joyce Smith in her arms.