I’m in the middle of reading In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. Blume’s latest book is based on an unbelievable, but true series of tragic events in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a town adjacent to Newark Airport. In 1951-52, during a three month period, three planes crashed in this ill-fated community. The first plane crashed on December 16, 1952, into a brick storage building, killing all 56 people on board. On January 22, 1952, a second plane crashed into a row of homes, killing all 23 on board, including former Secretary of War Robert Patterson, and seven people on the ground. Three weeks later, a third plane crashed into a four-story apartment building, killing 29 passengers and four people on the ground.
Citizens of Elizabeth were shocked and outraged by these events and the airport was immediately shut down to commercial traffic, with some continued military use. It remained closed for nine months during which time a new runway, directing air traffic away from Elizabeth, was built.
In the Unlikely Event is a fictionalized story of these events. Blume includes a diverse but interconnected group of characters whose lives are forever changed by the crashes. Check back soon for my review!
Thank you to the following sources:
nj.com: How three planes crashed in three months in Elizabeth in 50s
hiddennj.com: Newark Airport: the scarcely remembered shutdown
Wikipedia.org: Newark International Airport
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