Memorial service to remember victims of NKY plane crash 50 years later

Memorial service to remember victims of NKY plane crash 50 years later (WKRC)

BURLINGTON, Ky. (WKRC) - People are gathering in Northern Kentucky to remember the 70 people who died in TWA Flight 128.

The plane crashed near the airport on November 20, 1967. It will be 50 years on Monday.

On Friday, a woman who survived the crash when she was just a toddler, talked about the event.

The photo of Flight 128's vertical stabilizer just hours after the crash tells the aviation story. The picture of Tracy Smith four months after the crash with her new bunny tells a little girl's story.

“I had a green bunny that I loved. I used to take him with me everywhere. He did not make it off the plane,” said Smith.

15-month-old Tracy Smith obviously made it off the plane, but 70 people did not.

“I was with my maternal grandmother on the plane and she did not make it off,” said Smith.

It will be 50 years on Monday. On Sunday afternoon, those who died on TWA Flight 128 will be remembered at the Aviation Memorial in Boone County. All 70 names will be read.

“It's another opportunity to keep these, not just this plane crash but all these plane crashes in the public's consciousness,” said Linda Holbrook, the Memorial Group Founder.

Tracy Smith and another survivor will be there. Only 12 survived the crash. The group who raised the money for the Aviation Memorial also lobbied successfully a few years ago for an historic marker near the spot where the flight went down.

In 1967, it was all farmland. Not a half mile from the airport, TWA Flight 128 crashed in an orchard.

Tracy Smith was thrown from the plane.

“They said I was found in an apple tree and they got me out of the tree and put me in an ambulance with one of the other survivors,” said Smith.

TWA District Sales Manager Jim Spaeth was at the hospital with the survivors.

“I have to give a lot of credit to the first responders. They brought in a lot of people just sitting on other people's laps just to get them into the emergency room as quickly as they could,” said Spaeth.

Some of the first responders will be at Sunday's memorial. Once again, Tracy Smith will thank them and like every Thanksgiving, she will be thankful she survived a horror she can't remember and thankful for the people who make sure others never forget.

Investigators determined that pilot error caused the crash.

The 50th anniversary memorial service is this Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Aviation Memorial is in England-Idlewild Park in Burlington.

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