Exclusive pics: Allegheny Airlines Flight 853

A set of photographs from the tragic collision of two aircraft in 1969 near Fairland, Indiana have sat in my dad’s file cabinet in the garage throughout my entire life. I was always fascinated by them when I was a kid, and I’d occasionally show them to friends when they came over.

“My dad has a picture of a severed foot.”

“Nuh uh.”

“Come on, I’ll show you.”

Anyway, pardon the flippancy–I was just a kid, after all.

I never knew the story behind that crash until today, when I saw the pics while going through his old things and it occurred to me to Google it. 84 people died. It was major national news then and it’s still spoken of to this day by people who remember it.

The following pictures are presented solely for your historical edification. My dad did not take them, but I don’t know who the photographer is. It was someone he knew–a friend, perhaps. If these are your photos or those of a loved one, please let me know so that I can thank and give proper credit to whoever documented this tragic event for posterity. As you view these, think of the lives that were shattered. Think of the children left fatherless. The carnage on display in these pics alone(I have others) is staggering in its implications. Mangled bodies with severed appendages, burned beyond recognition. 84 of them. It must have been a truly awful sight to behold for those who were there. If your loved ones died in this crash, please be aware that two of these photos are extremely graphic.

The wreckage of the smaller Piper PA-28 plane

One of the deceased

A severed foot


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