Bomber Crashes into the Empire State Building

On the 28th July 1945 a B-25 Bomber plane crashed into the Empire State Building, the first airplane to ever crash into a New York skyscraper. The incredible occurrence was lost in the press somewhat amongst much wider news of World War II ending. Still, it was a momentous day in American history, when one of New York’s proudest and most iconic skyscrapers was torn into by an aeroplane.

Watch the newsreel here via our new British Pathe YouTube channel:

The plane hit the 79th floor of the Empire State Building at 200 miles an hour. Luckily the event happened on a weekend when few were working, still, 14 people died in the accident. Remarkably one survivor was a woman who fell 75 floors in a freefalling elevator that had had its cables severed by the destruction of the crash! Franklin. D. Roosevelt had had lunch on the 86th floor only a few hours before the crash that day.

If the crash had happened during a working day, and if the Bomber had been loaded, then the event might have been one of the biggest disasters in American history.

Spookily just two weeks after the 50th anniversary of the Empire State Building plane crash, another accident occurred in the building when an elevator failed to stop at the 80th floor and slammed into the top of the shaft. Nobody was killed but several people suffered head and neck injuries.

Today is the 66th anniversary of the B-25 Bomber crashing into the Empire State Building.

The plane smashed into the 79th floor.

Author: British Pathé

British Pathé holds the world's finest newsreel collection. We also represent the Reuters historical collection. All 220K films are viewable on our website.

3 thoughts on “Bomber Crashes into the Empire State Building”

  1. I thought buildings were meant to fall at freefall speed when planes hit them? 9/11 was an inside job!

  2. Talk about spooky – Franklin D. Roosevelt died several months before this event. If he indeed had lunch there just hours before, a lot of people had already hurriedly left the building prior to the bomber’s unfortunate arrival!

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