Exactly 64 years ago today, a U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashed into the Empire State Building between the 78th and 79th floors (remember this image?). NYC Aviation looks back at the incident, saying "an engine plunges down an elevator shaft, sparking a fire in the basement. Eleven people in the building are killed, in addition to the three man bomber crew. Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a plunge of 75 stories inside an elevator, which still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall recorded." The ESB notes that the pilot and two other passengers were killed, as well eleven people in the Catholic War Relief office.

The plane was being flown in dense fog by Lt. Col. William F. Smith Jr., who was trying to make his way to Newark that morning. The site wonders if he "mistook the East River for the Hudson and began his descent to Newark too soon... the plane had descended to around 500 feet and was on a collision course with the 850 foot RCA Building (known today as the GE Building) at 30 Rockefeller Center. A last moment turn averted disaster, alas temporarily. Flying south at 225 mph, they were only seconds away from the Empire State Building." Naturally, many below first thought the Japanese had launched a Kamikaze attack in New York. Here's a report from 1945:

Wouldn't it be great if the news networks brought this dramatic background music to their broadcasts?