On the afternoon of December 16, 1951, a passenger plane bound for Tampa caught fire shortly after takeoff from Newark Metropolitan Airport. The number 10 cylinder of the right engine had failed. Smoke trailed the plane as it dove toward the city of Elizabeth and crashed into the Elizabeth River, killing all 56 on board.
Five weeks later, on January 22, 1952, a Newark-bound plane from Buffalo, New York, lost contact with the control tower shortly before landing and plummeted through the fog into an apartment building one mile south of the first crash site—3.4 miles short of the runway—killing all 23 on board and another seven on the ground.
Three weeks after that, when the propeller on a Miami-bound plane from Newark reversed moments after taking flight, causing the aircraft to dive. The plane sheared off the top floor of a four-story apartment building in Elizabeth before crashing into a playground—one mile north of the first site. The third crash, just after midnight on February 11, raised the death toll from the three incidents to 119.
READ THE FULL STORY: Crash Course (New Jersey Monthly)