1961 Sabena Airlines 548 Crash



Victims of the Sabena Air 548 Crash

Berg, Near Brussels Belgium
February 15, 1961

 

Members of 1961 US Figure Skating Team pose before boarding Sabena Flight en route to the World Championships in Prague - Courtesy of World Figure Skating Museum

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Brussels Belgium

February 15, 1961

Plane Crash

One of the greatest sports disasters took place on February 15, 1961 when Sabena Air Lines Flight 548, en route from Idlewild (now Kennedy) Airport in New York to Brussels Belgium, crashed on approach to the airport in Brussels.

Witnesses on the ground reported wonderful weather, and the plane and crew offered no indication of trouble during the apparently uneventful flight.  However, after the captain made two passes at landing and was attempting a third, witnesses on the ground reported seeing the landing gear retract and the plane pull up suddenly before entering a series of high speed spins and crashing into a farmers field and pond, killing the farmer.  Another casualty on the ground survived, but had his leg severed by the crash. 

The entire US Figure Skating Team, fresh from their successful US Championships in Colorado Springs were on their way to Prague, Czechoslovakia for the World Championships.  The youth onboard was enormous, a tremendous pool of fresh-faced talent ready to take over the successes of the US team during the previous year in the 1960 Olympics, many of these Olympians having moved on to professional careers. 

As with most of these tragedies, this had its share of strange twists of fate.  Young Douglas Ramsay, only 16, had finished 4th at the US Championships and would not have normally been competing at the Worlds; however, he was aboard and ready to compete in Prague due to the fact that the 3rd place finisher ahead of him, Tim Brown had developed chest pains and doctors advised him against making the trip.

In another ironic twist, Diane Sherbloom took the place of Larry Pierce's regular partner, Marilyn Meeker.  Marilyn had injured her ankle and was unable to compete, and this led to Diane being on the fateful flight. 

With so many young faces, it was feared that US Figure Skating would be lost for a generation, but only 3 years later, young Peggy Fleming emerged and eventually became Olympic Champion in 1968. 

On January 28, 2011 the entire team, as well as the coaches, officials, and family members of this team, were all inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame. 

The victims of this crash are generally noted to number 73 - we are numbering them at 74, due to the fact that Margaret Pozzuolo, age 20 was an expectant mother. 

We honor the sacrifice of all victims of this tragedy, as well as their survivors.  This month marks the 50th anniversary of this disaster. 

 

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Do you have any stories, special memories or photos of those on this list? This is a list of all known victims - there may be more not listed. If you have information on this, so that I can add your information to the list.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of this tragic event, a rose has been placed for each victim. 

Memorial to Victims of the Sabena Airlines Plane Crash

US Figure Skating Team Members / Officials / Family Members (34)

 

Rose for Bradley LordBradley Lord - Swampscott, Massachusetts - Age 21 - 1961 US Figure Skating Mens Champion - b. 22 Aug 1939

Rose for Laurence OwenLaurence Rochon Owen - "Laurie" - Age 16 - 195 High St., Winchester, Massachusetts - 1961 US Figure Skating Ladies Champion - b. 09 May 1944

Rose for Maribel OwenMaribel Yerxa Owen - Age 20 - 195 High St., Winchester, Massachusetts - 1961 US Figure Skating Pairs Champion - b. 25 Apr 1940
**Senior at Boston University

Rose for Maribel Vinson OwenMaribel Vinson Owen - age 48 - 195 High St., Winchester, Massachusetts - Coach / Mother of Laurence and Maribel Owen - Coach of Dudley Richards  - b. 12 Oct 1911 in Winchester, Massachusetts

Rose for Dudley RichardsDudley Shaw Richards - Boston, Massachustts - Age 29 - 1961 US Figure Skating Pairs Champion - b. 04 Feb 1932

Rose for Diane SherbloomDiane Carol Sherbloom - "Dee Dee" -  age 28 - Los Angeles - 1961 US Figure Skating Dance Champion - b. 21 Sep 1942

Rose for Larry PierceDallas "Larry" Pierce - Indianapolis - 1961 US Figure Skating Dance Champion - b. 1937

Rose for Greg KelleyGregory Kelley - 1032 Centre St., Newton Center, Massachusetts - 1961 US Figure Skating Mens Silver Medal

Rose for Nathalie KelleyNathalie Kelley - 1032 Centre St., Newton Center, Massachusetts - Sister of Gregory Kelley

Rose for Stephanie WesterfeldStephanie Westerfeld - "Steffi" - age 17 - 600 Cheyenne Blvd., Colorado Springs - 1961 US Figure Skating Ladies Silver Medal - b. 08 Oct 1943

Rose for Sharon WesterfeldSharon Westerfeld - 600 Cheyenne Blvd., Colorado Springs - Sister of Stephanie Westerfeld

Rose for Ray Hadley Jr.Ray Hadley Jr. - age 17 - 10503 23rd Ave., Seattle -1961 US Figure Skating Pairs Silver Medal - b. 06 Oct 1943 in Seattle, Washington

Rose for Ila Ray HadleyIla Ray Hadley - age 18 - 10503 23rd Ave., Seattle - 1961 US Figure Skating Pairs Silver Medal - b. 18 Sep 1942 in Renton, Washington

Rose for Linda HadleyAlvah "Linda" Hadley - 10503 23rd Ave., Seattle - Coach / Mother of Ray and Ila Hadley

Rose for Roger CampbellRoger Campbell - 6724 Tujunga Ave., North Hollywood, California - 1961 US Figure Skating Dance Silver Medal  - b. 1942

Rose for Ann CampbellAnn Campbell - 6724 Tujunga Ave., North Hollywood, California -Mother of Roger Campbell

Rose for Dona Lee CarrierDona Lee Carrier - age 20 - 5607 Bakman Ave., North Hollywood, California - 1961 US Figure Skating Dance Silver Medal - b. 23 Oct 1940

Rose for Doug RamsayDouglas Alexander Ramsay - age 16 - Detroit, Michigan - 1961 US Figure Skating Mens 4th Place

Rose for Rhode Lee MichelsonRhode Lee Michelson - 21808 S. McHelen Ave., Long Beach, California - age 17 -  1961 US Figure Skating Ladies Bronze Medal - b. 09 Mar 1943

Rose for William HickoxWilliam Holmes Hickox - Colorado Springs - 1961 US Figure Skating Pairs Bronze Medal

Rose for Laurie HickoxLaurie Jean Hickox - Colorado Springs - 1961 US Figure Skating Pairs Bronze Medal - b. 06 Dec 1945

Rose for Robert DineenRobert Dineen - age 23 - 433 W. 34th St., New York City - 1961 US Figure Skating Dance Bronze Medal - husband of Patricia  - b. Jul 1937

Rose for Patricia DineenPatricia Dineen - 433 W. 34th St., New York City - 1961 US Figure Skating Dance Bronze Medal - wife of Robert
**Robert and Patricia Dineen had been married 2 years and had an 8-month old son, Robert Jr. at the time of the crash.  Robert Jr. was adopted by an uncle of the family at a later date. 

Rose for William KippWilliam Kipp - 8749 E. Imperial, Downey, California - Coach of Roger Campbell / Dona Lee Carrier / Rhode Michelson

Rose for Daniel RyanDaniel C. Ryan - "Danny" - Indianapolis - Coach of Larry Pierce and Diane Sherbloom

Rose for Edi ScholdanEdi Scholdan - 1308 Hermosa Way, Colorado Springs - born in Vienna, Coach of Greg Kelley / Stephanie Westerfeld / William Hickox / Laurie Hickox

Rose for Jimmy ScholdanJames "Jimmy" Scholdan - age 13 - 1308 Hermosa Way, Colorado Springs - Son of Edi Scholdan

Rose for William SwallenderWilliam (Carl) Swallender - Southfield, Michigan - Coach of Doug Ramsay

Rose for Harold HartshorneHarold Hartshorne - 31 E. 79th St., New York City - Figure Skating Judge - b. 08 Sep 1891

Rose for Louise HartshorneLouise Hartshorne - 31 E. 79th St., New York City - Wife of Harold Hartshorne

Rose for Edward LeMaireEdward LeMaire - Age 37 - Rye, New York - Figure Skating Judge
   **Graduate of University of Nevada Reno

Rose for Richard LeMaireRichard LeMaire - "Dick" - Age 14 - Rye, New York - Son of Edward LeMaire

Rose for Deane McMinnDeane E McMinn - 2248 247th St., Lomita, California - Figure Skating Judge and Team Leader

Rose for Walter PowellWalter S. Powell - St. Louis - International Skating Union Official and Referee

Sabena Air Lines Flight 548 Crew (11)

 

Rose for Louis LambrechtsLouis Lambrechts - Captain of Sabena Air Lines Flight and Wartime Belgian Pilot

Rose for Jean RoyJean Roy - CoPilot of Sabena Air Flight

Rose for Jean KintJean Kint - Navigator of Sabena Air Flight

Rose for Lucien EduwaereLucien Eduwaere - Flight Engineer of Sabena Air Flight

Rose for Pierre van den BuschePierre van den Busche - Flight Steward on Sabena

Rose for Robert VoleppeRobert Voleppe - Flight Steward on Sabena

Rose for Marcel DeMayerMarcel DeMayer - Flight Steward on Sabena

Rose for Henri VernimmenHenri Vernimmen - Flight Steward on Sabena

Rose for Henri VernimmenPaul De Vos - Flight Steward on Sabena|

Rose for Jacqueline RombautJacqueline Rombaut - Air Hostess on Sabena

Rose for Jacqueline TrullemansJacqueline Trullemans - Air Hostess on Sabena

Passengers (28)

 

Rose for Margaret PozzuoloMargaret Pozzuolo - Age 20 - Drexel Hill Pennsylvania - Expecting Mother

Rose for Margaret PozzuoloUnborn child of Margaret Pozzuolo

Rose for Dominique VernierDominique Vernier - Mouscron, Belgium

Rose for Juanita LemoineJuanita Lemoine - New Orleans

Rose for Dayton AlexanderDayton Alexander - age 35 - Olney, Texas
**En route to Libya for oil field construction work

Rose for George YoungGeorge W. Young - age 49 - Olney, Texas
**En route to Libya for oil field construction work

Rose for Martin SoriaMartin S. Soria - East Lansing, Michigan

Rose for Otmar BoeschOtmar Boesch - Seattle

Rose for Julian BaginskiJulian Baginski - Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Rose for Herbert MyersHerbert Myers - East Orange, New Jersey

Rose for Iris DukeIris Duke - age 27 - Dallas, Texas
**Stewardess with Trans Texas Airways going to vacation in Europe

Rose for Linda FosterLinda Foster - age 21 - Houston, Texas
**Stewardess with Trans Texas Airways going to vacation in Europe

Rose for Daurice HerringDaurice Herring - age 21 - Dallas, Texas
**Stewardess with Trans Texas Airways going to vacation in Europe

 

Rose for Francisco MedinaFrancisco C. Medina - Winnetka, Illinois (Originally from Nicaragua)

Rose for Howard LillieHoward Lillie - Corning, New York

Rose for Harold KellettHarold G. Kellett - Bronxville, New York

Rose for Jean BergbruggenJean Berbruggen - Brussels, Belgium

Rose for Germaine BerbruggenGermaine Berbruggen - Brussels, Belgium

Rose for Victor MaesRobert Raulier - Brussels, Belgium

Rose for Germaine BerbruggenMercellin DePrince - De Panne, Belgium

Rose for Max SilbersteinMax Silberstein - Westport, Connecticut

Rose for Jacob HershkowiczJacob Hershkowicz - Jackson Heights, New York

Rose for Franz OffergeltFranz Offergelt - Hanset, Belgium

Rose for Victor MaesVictor Maes-  Ontario, Canada

Rose for Pierre BalteauPierre Balteau - Stamford, Connecticut

Rose for Jacqueline D. RobinsonJacqueline D. Robinson - Winona Lake, Indiana - wife of Richard Robinson (married less than one month) - Born in Belgium

Rose for Richard RobinsonRichard Robinson - US Armed Forces enroute to Brussels - husband of Jacqueline Robinson

Note on Richard & Jacqueline Robinson - Can anyone answer the following questions from a visitor?

Hello sir;
I attach this article on the couple died in 1961. Can you tell me the name of Jacqueline and her exact date of birth?
Can you tell me if he were married in Winona Lake?
And finally, can you tell me if Richard was in 1946 and 1947 in France or Belgium? Any possible information would be helpful because I think that Jacqueline may be my family I'm looking for for years.
I warmly thank you for helping me.

Feb. 15, 1961 -- Winona Lake honeymooners Capt. and Mrs. Richard C. Robinson, were among 73 persons killed today when a Sabena Belgian jet airliner from New York crashed just north of the Brussels, Belgium, airport. There were no survivors.Capt. Robinson, 38, an Army career man, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Robinson of 103 11th St., Winona Lake. They operate a grocery store on South McClellan Street.His wife, Jacqueline "Jackie," was 28. She was a native of Brussels and they were married there last Jan. 28.The crash of the jet airliner wiped out the U.S. figure skating team.


Rose for Robert StoppRobert Stopp, PFC - Armed Forces member enroute to Paris

Killed on Ground (1)

 

Rose for Theo De LaetTheo De Laet - (Farmer on ground killed by crash)

One more Sad Victim

 

Rose for Theo De Laet Unnamed German Shepherd found injured in the cargo hold and later died. 

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