29th November, 1949 : Planes fell from the sky with horrible frequency this month, as a whole series of air crashes claimed 142 lives across the world. On the first day of the month, a fighter plane collided with an Eastern Airlines passenger airliner, cutting it in half, 100 feet above Washington’s National Airport, and killing 55 men, women and children. The only survivor was the pilot of the fighter jet. Later in the month, three disasters in three days, all involving B-29 Superfortresses, claimed a further 25 lives. In Bermuda, the downing of a B-29 launched the biggest peace-time rescue yet, which found 18 of the 20 crew alive but delirious, after 75 hours floating on the sea. Another B-29 crashed off Florida, claiming another five lives and now all Superfortresses have been grounded. Last week, a crash near Oslo killed 34 people, 27 of them orphan children, on their way to a rehabilitation centre. Finally, today, 28 people perished as a passenger jet exploded at Dallas airport.

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