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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Carroll in Carroll County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Miracle Cornfield Landing of 1960

 
 
The Miracle Cornfield Landing of 1960 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, March 31, 2017
1. The Miracle Cornfield Landing of 1960 Marker
Inscription.

At 1:40 am during a blizzard on January 18th, 1960, a World War II and Korean War marine veteran conducted a successful emergency landing of a D.C.- 3 airplane a few yards north of this spot.

Shortly after an 8:30pm takeoff from St. Louis, MO, the airplane experienced electrical failure. Without any guidance instruments, the crew maneuvered in the direction of Minneapolis, MN but drifted off course. Sighting the town's water tower and courthouse clock through the snowstorm the loud and low plane flew several times over Carroll trying to find a place to land. With his head sticking out the side window because the windshield was frosted over and low on fuel, the pilot landed the 95 foot wing span aircraft near this spot.

On board the plane were 23 people, including the professional basketball team, the Minneapolis Lakers, which moved to Los Angeles the following year. This area was a cornfield in 1960 with unpicked corn standing in January from a wet harvest season. The pilot later joked, "never try to pick corn with a DC-3."

According to Carroll historian James Kerwin, the pilot paid tribute to Carroll, "the people of Carroll were terrific. Within five minutes, two or three men came dashing up to offer help , and in another five minutes a whole fleet of cars was out in the road.
Laker Court Street Sign image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, March 31, 2017
2. Laker Court Street Sign
In a half hour we had hot coffee and warm rooms. The worst ordeal of our lives was over. God must have been my co-pilot."

The cornfield landing in deep snow did not damage the sturdy DC-3. Within a few days, the planes electrical system was repaired and Carroll residents bulldozed a makeshift airstrip through the snow and corn stalks. With hundreds of spectators lining the nearby road, the plane soared northward and returned to Minnesota. The Lakers continued using the converted war cargo plane.
 
Location. 42° 5.008′ N, 94° 51.436′ W. Marker is in Carroll, Iowa, in Carroll County. Marker is on Ashwood Dr. Touch for map. Marker is located in Veterans Memorial Park near the basketball court. Marker is in this post office area: Carroll IA 51401, United States of America.
 
Also see . . .  Marker Dedication Ceremony. (Submitted on April 4, 2017, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota.)
 
Additional keywords. Los Angeles Lakers, Minneapolis Lakers
 
Categories. Air & SpaceSports
 
The Miracle Cornfield Landing of 1960 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, March 31, 2017
3. The Miracle Cornfield Landing of 1960 Marker
Laker Basketball Court image. Click for full size.
By Ruth VanSteenwyk, March 31, 2017
4. Laker Basketball Court
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 5, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 4, 2017, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 139 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 4, 2017, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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