Sunday, January 17, 2010

Miracle Cornfield Landing

See updates including web links and radio clips below:

The public is invited to attend a reception to recognize the 50th anniversary of the forced landing of the Minneapolis Lakers plane in Carroll. The reception will be 50 years to the day of the miracle landing, Monday, January 18, 2010 at the Harold Bierl Community Room at the Carroll Chamber of Commerce. The reception will be from 5-7 p.m. with a short program at 6 p.m. Harold Gifford, co-pilot of the aircraft is scheduled to appear. Hear accounts from local residents and the unveiling of a monument that will later be placed in Veterans Memorial Park. Refreshments will be served.

January 18, 1960 the DC-3 left St. Louis destined for Minneapolis, carrying 23 passengers; which included the Minneapolis Lakers basketball team. As soon as they were airborne, they experienced problems. This caused them to make an emergency landing in a cornfield north of Carroll. Carroll residents came out in full force to helped the unharmed passengers through the snow storm and to the Burke Hotel where the passengers spent the night. Within a few days the plane was repaired, a bulldozer created a make-shift runway and the DC-3 returned to Minneapolis.


See Friday's Carroll Daily Times Herald for coverage of the 1960 events and a preview of the 50th Anniversary reception coming Monday.

Hear co-pilot Harold Gifford's account of the landing in a radio interview with KCIM 1380 in Carroll.

Read Minneapolis Laker Bobby "Slick" Leonard's recollection of the events here.

Kevin White, Omaha World Herald sportswriter, digs out even a few more details and some "small world" anectdotes.

National coverage by Associated Press Sportswriter Luke Meredith picked up nationwide. Search "The Lucky Lakers" to see where and read comments.

Carroll Mayor Jim Pedelty will read a letter sent by Los Angeles Lakers Executive Vice President Jeanie Buss. An excerpt from the letter:

"The citizens of Carroll should take pride in their role of sheltering the Lakers team so that they could become the universally known and celebrated World Champions that exist today. The Los Angeles Lakers and Carroll, IA will be bound together in history for the rest of time. Please accept our heartfelt appreciation for being there in the Lakers greatest time of need. GO LAKERS! GO CARROLL, IOWA!"

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