Air Crash Memorial Site


This information is provided in memory of the Northwest Orient Electra Airlines crash victims, who died at Millstone, IN, 8 miles due east of Cannelton, IN, March 17, 1960.

The Chicago, IL to Miami, FL Lockheed Electra carrying 57 passengers and a crew of six plunged into the earth killing all on board. The plane fell apart in mid-air as engine, wing, and plane parts were strewn over a two mile area in Perry County. The plane's cruising speed was 406 mph and it is estimated that the plane was traveling nearly 600 mph as it's fuselage plunged nose first into a bean field at Millstone, burying it 50 ft. into the earth.

After extensive research at Lockheed, it was revealed that a weakness in the Electra's outer engine supports caused the crash. This weakness, when circumstances were right, started a series of vibrations, in effect the engine began bouncing and this vibration soon transferred its force to the wing itself, which hopelessly stressed it and broke it off. Clear air turbulence was reported over Perry County the day of the crash. After the crash, Lockheed acted forthrightly and recalled all Electras for modifications.

A memorial is erected at the crash site by the Cannelton Kiwanis and public donations. It's for all practical purposes a memorial park. The cleared landscaped acre draws the eye gently left and right, then down to focus on a paved circle set precisely over the original crater where the plane was buried. The unpolished grey Vermont granite monument, on small steps, faces south. Four red cedar trees surround it. In shape, it's a 9 ft. high center tablet flanked by four lower tablets which list the names of the victims. Atop the center tablet is a torch of life. Set below it is engraved; "This memorial, dedicated to the memory of 63 persons who died in an airplane crash at this location, March 17, 1960, was erected by public subscription in the the hope that such tragedies will be eliminated." Those words were written by Bob Cummings, editor of the Cannelton News and Cannelton Kiwanis. The park is open to everyone and is a beautiful short drive 8 miles East of Cannelton.

The Plane Crash Memorial: A Narrative

Probable Cause of the Crashes of the Lockheed Electra

The Electra's Specifications Are:
Overall Length 104 ft. 6 inches
Height 33 ft.
Wingspan 99 ft.
Max Speed 450 mph
Powerplants 4 Allison Prop Jet Engines
Passenger Cap. 66 - 99