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Wife of State Dept. Chief of Protocol Killed in Plane Crash

July 18, 1961 - Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke (pictured left, holding her daughter Maria-Luisa in 1955), wife of the State Department's Chief of Protocol (center), two other socially prominent women and a pilot were killed today when their chartered plane crashed in residential Jackson Heights, Queens. Their single-engined Beechcraft Bonanza plunged, apparently straight down, into a garden within 20 feet of a two-story house. Six children had been chasing butterflies on a lawn next to the point of impact, and had moved away only moments before. The crash took place as the pilot, who had radioed he was having trouble with an unlocked or open door, circled the aircraft to make an emergency landing after taking off from La Guardia Airport. Philip Francabandera, who was superintending the six children, saw the plane come straight down. He thought it hit nose first. "It wasn't much of a noise, just a crushing 'oof.'" Mr. Francabandera said. "I saw a car being crushed once. It was just like that. Then it went up into a ball of flames."


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