Plane Down!

One January morning in 1960, I picked up the Schenectady Gazette and read that the Minneapolis Laker basketball team had been in an accident.  I was in the ninth grade, and I loved their star player, Elgin Baylor.  The former Seattle University great had the twitch, the head-bob, and all the moves.  Every time you you thought you had seen all the moves, he would create a new one.  The Lakers were flying home in sleet and snow.  They had lost to the St. Louis Hawks the afternoon before, and Baylor had scored 43 points.  Baylor , Hot Rod Hundley, Jim Krebs, and some other players were playing cards on the flight back to Minneapolis.  Amazingly, most of the card players smoked.  Less than 15 minutes into the flight, everyone knew that something was wrong.  The cabin lights went out, and they were now flying without any heat or radio.  The cockpit lights also went out, and the pilots did not know where they were.  The players wrapped themselves in blankets.  They began to worry.  Visibility was zero, and they were running out of fuel.  They were over Iowa, and the pilot decided to take the plane down into a cornfield.  The plane glided down, landed on its belly, bounced around, then plowed through the corn before coming to a halt.  The players jumped out.  They were elated, and the snowballs began to fly.  They had survived!

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