In the late afternoon of May 30, 1947, Eastern Airlines’ nonstop Flight 606 departed from Newark, N.J., on a flight to Miami, with 53 passengers and crew onboard.
Approaching Port Deposit at 6:30 p.m., the DC-4 was observed flying at a low altitude when suddenly an explosion blew the tail assembly off the fuselage.
The plane then nosed up and momentarily flew on its back before plunging at a 45-degree angle into the woods, where it exploded. There were no survivors. It remains Maryland’s second-worst aviation disaster.
All bodies were burned or mutilated beyond recognition, the Cecil County medical examiner told The Baltimore Sun.
Rescuers arriving from the state police barracks at Conowingo, Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Bainbridge Naval Training Center were forced to cut roads to reach the wreckage to remove bodies and the remains of the DC-4.
A Senate report later ascertained that “faulty maintenance and inspection” were the cause of the crash.
Maryland’s worst aviation disaster occurred Dec. 8, 1963, when Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707 with 73 passengers and eight crew aboard bound from Baltimore to Philadelphia, was struck by lightning. It ignited fuel vapors in a tank, causing the plane to crash near Elkton, killing all those onboard.