1972: Stolen Plane Explodes Near Sorority House

A Piper Cub Airplane

Imagine being in the middle of a peaceful good night’s sleep, cozy in your bed, when all of a sudden a stolen plane furiously comes crashing down to the ground outside, just barely missing your house. Sounds crazy right? Well that’s exactly what happened in March of 1972 right here in College Park. Two men, who were not university students, had stolen a small Piper Cub airplane from the unguarded College Park airport late at night and decided to take it for a ride. Despite both men having their pilots licences, they ended up losing control of the plane, which was not equipped with lights, sending it plummeting back down to College Park.

Sometime around 4:30 am, the plane crashed to the ground 45 feet away from the intersection of College and Princeton avenue, nearly hitting a University of Maryland sorority house. Both occupants of the plane were killed in the explosion. Students who witnessed hearing and viewing the aftermath of the crash said that the explosion was loud enough to shake a house, and that the flames from the explosion reached the height of a telephone pole. It was believed that the plane lost control due to bad weather and poor visibility. The incident caused no other additional injuries.

You can read the Diamondback article documenting the crash in its entirety here: Plane crash

2 thoughts on “1972: Stolen Plane Explodes Near Sorority House

  1. Kevin

    I have several color photos taken at the scene of this crash, taken by my grandfather who was a former Chief and President of the CPVFD.

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