Memorial for Northwest Flight 710

What, you’ve never heard of Northwest flight 710? That’s probably because the crash happened nearly 50 years ago, on March 17, 1960 to be precise. After I left Indianapolis last week, I decided that I would avoid interstates for the drive to Phoenix, and that helped me find all kinds of excellent aviation-related stops, including a memorial for Northwest 710.

The recommendation came from a friend. He said if I went south until just before Indiana met Kentucky at the Ohio River, I could find this memorial just a few miles east of Cannelton, Indiana. It wasn’t easy to find at first, but once I got there, I found this:

P1000253

The memorial is very simple, but extremely touching. In addition to the names of all the passengers and crew (including, eerily, someone with the same name as my grandfather), there is a very nice inscription. See for yourself:

P1000249

This accident was one of the “whirl-mode” accidents that plagued the Lockheed Electra in its early days. The wing broke apart in mid-air and the pieces came crashing down into this spot at full speed.

If you’d like to see the location on Google Maps, enter these coordinates: 37.911041,-86.633044. I also have more pictures from my visit here.

94 Responses to Memorial for Northwest Flight 710

  1. Rebecca Fenn says:

    The services that will be held here in Perry County, Indiana will be on Central time. I mistakenly had eastern listed in a previous post. You may know that Indiana has many different time zones and just because a county is located on one side or the other, one cannot assume it lies in a certain time zone. If you are planning on attending any of the services, PLEASE let us know by contacting the Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-888-343-6262 or email to perrycountycvb@psci.net. We are trying to plan transportation to the memorial site on Saturday and have gotten very few calls yet we know we will have many of you there. PLEASE get in touch with the CVB if you are attending and remember we are on CENTRAL time. Take care.

  2. Rebecca Fenn says:

    I had a question about times…
    We are currently on Central STANDARD Time. Daylight Savings Time begins all over the country on March 14 so on Sunday, we will be on Central DAYLIGHT Time. So, where ever you are you will “Spring Forward” on your watches, I believe.

    Times at other cities in Indiana…Evansville is on Central time, Indianapolis is on Eastern time. Other nearby cities, Louisville, KY is on Eastern time and Nashville, TN are on Central time. Those are the most commonly used airports in our area.

    I hope I got all of that right…sometimes we confuse ourselves with all the time issues in Indiana even though it has gotten a little better than it use to be since the whole state now goes onto Daylight time.

  3. Rebecca Fenn says:

    Dear Friends,
    We are getting closer to the time of our memorial events and I just wanted to remind you to call the Convention and Visitors Bureau to let us know you are coming. We are concerned about the weather and may have to move the memorial service to the Cannelton Community Center. If we know you are coming and where you are staying we can let you know of any last minute changes. We have limited space for parking and the seating will be limited also. We want the family members to have first preference to seating so please let us know if you are attending.
    Thank you and God Bless.
    Rebecca

  4. Rebecca Fenn says:

    Update on Location Change of Saturday, March 13 Memorial Event…Due to anticipated rain all week and problems with set up due to soft ground from the rain, we will now be holding the 2:00 p.m. service at the Cannelton (Indiana) Community Center. Since parking is available on the city streets, there will not be any transportation services and you will not have to call the Convention and Visitors Bureau any longer. Thank you to all those who let us know they are coming to the services. We hope you will be able to attend the services on both days since they will be different. The service on Sunday will be led by religious leaders from all four faiths represented among those who perished. The public is welcome to visit the memorials in Cannelton and in Tell City at any time.
    If you cannot attend the services, please keep all the family members of those who perished in your prayers. Thank you, Rebecca Fenn

  5. TWR says:

    An article from the Evansville,IN Courier newspaper of the crash:

    http://local.evpl.org/views/viewimage.asp?ID=783249

    As a former resident of Perry County and friend of the late Bob Cummings.(I worked for Otis Saalman), I visit the Millstone site whenever I am in the area and will never forget my first time there shortly after the crash as excavations were going on.
    God bless all who are able to attend the services and a heartfelt thank you to Ms.Fenn.

  6. Joan Goble says:

    I am Joan Goble, 5th grade teacher at Cannelton Elementary in Cannelton, Indiana. I was at the memorial ceremony yesterday (Saturday) and at the memorial service today, and I have to say both were so very moving. It was wonderful to meet all of the family members who were able to come and attend.
    I hope that we can all keep in contact. I felt like we all bonded.
    My students and I were honored to be a part of the Saturday ceremony.
    My media club will put together a small website featuring these two events, along with interviews we have had with people who had remembrances of the tragedy. Listen, my media club from 2001 were involved in an international research project called City Quest (a school in The Netherlands hosted it)…and we had a report on the plane crash memorial. You can view that page at:
    http://www.cityquest.nl/usa/e-planecrash.html
    The interview was with William Buddy Bennett, principal of Cannelton Elementary for over 40 years and also he was the mayor of Cannelton at the time of the crash. (now, W. Bennett, let me know if I am wrong about that! :-)
    I am so glad that so many of the families of the victims were able to come.
    I hope that this site and the news articles that have been published so far will tell other family members of the memorial so that they can maybe visit it some day. I want to especially thank all who worked so hard on this event. It will be something I know my students will always remember. Oh, a nice news article was in the Twin Cities.com Pioneer Press:
    http://www.twincities.com/ci_14666672?source=most_viewed
    Also, if you go to Channel 14 TV (out of Evansville) and look at their recent videos you can see a short clip about the Saturday event.
    It is nice to “meet” all of you here. :-)

    • CF says:

      Thanks for reporting back for those of us who weren’t there. Sounds like it was a very nice couple of days even though it was celebrating such an awful tragedy.

  7. shannon says:

    My uncle was Arnold w Kowal, my aunt has since died, but my mom remembers this very well, all they found of Arny was a couple of fingers…
    But he had filed some kind of paperwork before the flight…I think it’s called
    “flying under protest”
    So my Aunt was able to sue the Airline, because of it
    But its still so sad, may they all Rest In Peace

  8. David Clendenen says:

    I attended both services and visited the museums in Cannelton and Tell City. It was all very well done. Rebecca Fenn and everyone else involved did a wonderful job. I felt that both services were very nice and very respectful.
    I also met some wonderful people and very much enjoyed talking with them. I know this was probably a once in a lifetime thing, and I enjoyed it very much even though we were commemorating a tragedy.
    I went to the crash site Saturday night just to see how it looked at night. I took some pictures but they need a little Photoshop work. When I get them cleaned up I will see if I can post a couple here. If not here, I will find somewhere to post them so anyone who wants to can see them.

  9. Joan Goble says:

    Yes, David, I would like to see them when they are ready. Thank you for your kind words. I was on the committee who planned both the Sat. ceremony and the Sunday service, and it felt so wonderful in my heart to see everyone’s reactions, especially the victims’ families. It made it all so worthwhile!

  10. Rita Herseth says:

    I am the daughter of Barbara and Stanley Tranas, who died on March 17, 1960. Today, on the 50th anniversary of this tragic day, I would like to thank the Cranky Flier for connecting so many people who attended the memorial celebration last weekend in Cannelton and Tell City, IN. Four families of the victims were surrounded by many townspeople and other interested people, who were touched by this story over the years. Several people travelled hundreds of miles to commemorate this day with us.

    I am deeply indebted to Rebecca Fenn and her wonderful committee for organizing such an outstanding celebration. Also, a special thank you to William Bennett and David Clendenen being such an integral part of this whole remarkable story. To the children of Cannelton and Tell City, who submitted their spectacular drawings — you touched our souls in a very special way. To the cities of Cannelton and Tell City…the Kiwanis Clubs…and the Parks Department, thank you for erecting and maintaining the Millstone site for almost 50 years.

    We now have a new family in Cannelton and Tell City, Indiana. Our hearts are filled with such love and gratefulness for such an inspirational experience. Thank you to everyone who opened their hearts and lives to us. We know our families who were lost that day will be well taken care of by all of you. To quote John Christie, who produced the documentary “Across Indiana” in 1993, “This is truly a place of PEACEFUL EXISTENCE.”

  11. Kevin Koelling says:

    Editor Vince Luecke and I covered the weekend’s events for the Perry County News, and welcome you to view the results of our work. I post our main stories at http://www.perrycountynews.com, and generally have Thursday’s stories posted by 11 a.m. We will also post in our slide-show area pictures beyond those we’re able to fit in the print edition.

    • Rita Herseth says:

      Kevin, I just saw the pictures you posted on the slide show for the Perry County News. Thanks to you and Vince Luecke for doing this. It’s wonderful to see the quality of the pictures so clearly. My visit to your area last weekend was outstanding. Congratulations to the people of Tell City and Cannelton for caring so deeply for all of us. We were deeply moved by all that was done to make the victims’ families feel so welcomed. I also appreciated the newspaper articles that were published. Thank you once again.

  12. Rita, I’m glad you liked what we could contribute to the commemoration. If you’re ever out this way again, well, like the guy says on TV, we’ll leave a light on for ya.

    Kevin@The Perry County News

  13. Dear Friends,
    It seems impossible that it has been almost a week since our commemoration of those who lost their lives in the crash of Northwest Flight 710. I cannot say enough times what a blessing it was for us to meet all the family members. And how nice it is that everyone has shared so many links to various articles and photos. The photos that David took of the crash site memorial at night are lovely. You can see the new landscaping around the site in David’s pictures. There are many nice photos of the Saturday service on the Perry County News website too. I will try to send you photos from Sunday’s service. It was very special too with ministers from the four faiths represented among the victims. Thank you all for sharing and caring about all these families….they are SO special! Blessings to all of you, dear friends.

  14. Susan Santer says:

    Thanks you for dedicating you time to such a great cause.

  15. Joan Goble says:

    The photos of the memorial are so very nice! Thank you for sharing them.
    Kevin and Vince, the articles and photos you both did are wonderful!
    I have several copies of The Perry County News articles if anyone wants copies of them. You can email me and let me know addresses to send them to.
    -Joan

  16. Ron says:

    Hello,
    I want to thank you All so much for what you are doing with this memorial.
    I believe this was the flight my uncle was on when it went down, about this time of year, back in 1960.
    He worked for a power generator company from what I was told.
    Do you have access of or know where I could see the list of “Souls on Board”?
    I appreciate what you are doing for the memorial of everyone involved!
    God Speed
    Ron

  17. If you click on either picture of the memorial at the top of the page at the Cranky Flier site, it will take you to Brett’s pictures he took of the monument. Look at the individual pictures and you can read the names of everyone on the plane. Let us know if your uncle was on the plane.

  18. Ron says:

    David and Brett,
    Thank You so much!
    I did find him on the passenger list.
    Warner Mickus
    He was my Uncle that I remember faintly, as I was just a early grade schooler and being so long ago.
    He was married, lived in south Minneapolis with 2 older children, than myself.
    Was a business trip for the Onan Company.
    I can still remember the afternoon when the word got to us about the crash. It was rather somber around the house for sometime.
    My father had taken a special “Fly Over” flight of the crash area with other family members of the passengers.
    I have never gotten a full story of what happened, until I saw an article in this past Sunday’s St. Paul, Mn. paper,
    about the tragedy and wondered whether that was the same plane my uncle was on.
    Sure enough, that was the one!
    I would like to get down there someday to honor my uncle and to pay tribute to the memorial.
    Hopefully within the next year or so.
    Thanks to All
    God Bless
    Ron

  19. Captain LaParle was the uncle of my wife. Ed’s wife Elsie remained in their Edina, MN home until her death at the age of 93. My wife has many of Ed’s Northwest items including his flight log books and some of his very first pilot licenses signed by the Wright brothers. Also some of his air show entry licenses signed by Orville Wright. Ed flew supply flights in Burma during the war and was one of the very early pilots hired by Northwest. He did love flying according to his wife and the Electa was actually his favorite aircraft.

  20. Rebecca Fenn says:

    Mr. Wolf,
    During my research of the victims of Flight 710, I ran across a website on for Davis-Monthan Airfield that records Captain LaParle’s flight there. My contact, Mr. G.W. Hyatt, is interested in more information about Captain LaParle. You can look it up at http://www.dmairfield.org.
    Thank you for sharing your information about Captain LaParle. He sounds like a fascinating man.

  21. Mr. Wolf,
    I just went to the Davis Monthan Airfield website. To see Captain LaParle’s signature in the register, look on the right side of the home page, click on the People button, choose pilot, type in LaParle, see details, see log book entry. It’s very interesting.

  22. TWR says:

    This PDF is a very complete description of the events leading up to the loss of Flight 710 and all souls aboard. My uncle the navigator was aboard one of the USAF B-52′s in the area that day. As I have said before,due to the extreme distance between wreckage pieces,it was at first thought to be a mid-air collision,possibly USAF aircraft.

    http://www.dmairfield.org/people/laparle_ee/1960.03.17_NorthwestAirlines_LockheedElectra_Opt.pdf

    Thank you,Ms. Fenn for the link leading to this.

    May the passengers and crew,along with their families and friends, be in our thoughts and prayers this Easter season.

  23. W Mills says:

    I was sixteen when the crash occured and I lost a roommate in it. Ironically, I had a 35 year career as a pilot for Northwest Airlines.

  24. Robert J. Serling, author of The Electra Story, died May 6, 2010, in Tucson, Arizona. He was 92. He was the older brother of Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone TV series. Further information can be found on his listing at
    http://www.findagrave.com.

  25. Rebecca Fenn says:

    Hello friends, It has been a while since I’ve been on this site. I wanted to let you know that our Tell City Kiwanis Club just started a Facebook page and we have photos from the 50th Anniversary Memorial Weekend services on that page. Please feel free to check it out and “Like” our page. I was recently at the site to take photos for Rita Herseth. The drought has taken a toll on the new landscaping that was put in last spring. One evergreen tree and several bushes have died. But the site remains a beautiful place of peace. If you are ever in Tell City to visit the site, we hope that you will get in touch with a Kiwanian. The Perry County Chamber and the Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau directors are both members of Kiwanis and could help you with any questions or how to get in touch with me or any other Kiwanian or other resident you may be looking for. God bless you all for remembering these families after all these years. Rebecca Fenn

  26. I was employed by NWA for 15 days on the fateful day of the crash. We were all called in to contact the relatives of the crash victims to do whatever we could to comfort and assist them where we were able. About a week after the incident NWA flew two planes to Louisville with the relatives of the victims. We overnighted there and were each assigned a family to do whatever we could to aid and assist them in any way we were able. The next morning we drove the families to the memorial site and attended services that were conducted by a Rabbi, Priest, Minister and a Bhudist. There were four caskets that were burried at that site.
    After the services we drove the families to Evansville for the flights home.
    It just does not seem that it was 50 years ago, I can remember most of the details as if it was last week. If anyone is interested the Indiana State Police did a documentary of the incident. I called them 2 years ago and they found the 16mm documentary and put it on a Disc. I dont know if its available to the public but it is interesting

  27. Michael, this is the most comprehensive, understandable piece of journalism that I have ever seen. My parents were killed that day in Millstone, and I did attend the beautiful memorial services in March, 2010. Thank you for submitting such an outstanding informational site. The people of Cannelton and Tell City opened their hearts to us during this memorial celebration, and you have completed this year by submitting a priceless account of this tragic event. Thank you so much.

  28. TWR says:

    Yes I second that comment on Micheal K’s site. Very nicely done. As someone who was there as a youngster when it was not yet excavated, this terrible event will be forever in my mind. I stop by the memorial several times a year when I am in the area visiting my family. The victims are remembered and prayed for by many more than just the people who knew them personally.

    Tom

  29. As this year ends I would like to wish all here a happy New Year. I have enjoyed reading all the posts and stories. If not for this site I might not have known about the memorial services. For me, that March weekend in Perry County will always be one of my fondest memories of this year.
    Best wishes to all.

  30. Hello

    I am woundering if anyone had any news articles about a passenger on flight 710 that crashed on March 17 1960. Her name was Betty Jane Gentle
    She was my Auntie, my mothers older sister. I never got to know her because I was not born until December 1960. My mom gave me part of her real name and her professional name, which was Ronnie Lane a well know night club singer. I was named Ronnie Jane but changed my name in Oct of 1997 because of two many difficulties with a boys name. I changed it to Veronica Jane. My aunts maiden name was Stoltz. If you know of any news paper articles about her in the crush am trying to find them. My mom had one years ago not sure if it was from the Milwaukee Journel were she was raised and I reside now. Or if the news paper article was from the news paper in indiana were the plane went down. Any way my mom died in 1976 and I was only 15 years old at the time so when my realatives came to clean out our apartment, someone took the news paper arcticle and I did not rememeber that my mom had it hidden behind a picture of my aunt Betty until recently when I visit another one of my mothers younger sisters and we talked about it. She told me she was invited to the 50 year memorial last year in March but was not able to make it. If anyone has any info on this could you please email me with the info It would be very well appreciated. Betty Jane Gentle lived in Balitmore MD at the time she died but was coming home from a show she did in Chicago.

    Thanks,
    Ronnie Jane :)

  31. Theresa says:

    For those who lost loved ones on Northwest Orient Flight 705, just three years after the crash of Northwest Flight 710, please visit my newly created blog. It was created to honor the memory of the 43 people on board that flight, and to provide a forum for those who wish to learn more. It is my hope that a permanent memorial can be erected in Everglades National Park where 705 went down.

    Thank you, Theresa

  32. Theresa says:

    Here’s the website for Northwest Orient Flight 705 [Date of crash: February 12, 1963, Florida Everglades]
    http://northwestorient705.wordpress.com/

    • Orville H. Larson says:

      Northwest Orient Flight 705 crashed because of Captain Almquist’s desperate attempt to recover from a near-vertical, high-speed dive. The aerodynamic forces were such that the plane couldn’t take it. (Almquist had only 150 hours logged on the Boeing 720B. First Officer Feller had some 1,090 hours logged on that aircraft. And, of course, the chaotic conditions that must have existed in the cockpit–Mach warning bell, negative G forces, loose objects floating around–must have been terrifying.) This crash focused attention on how to handle swept-wing aircraft in turbulence, and sound techniques and better training resulted.

      Mary Sandell, 20, was the youngest and most junior of the five stewardesses (Northwest hired her on December 21, 1962). My parents were friends of her parents.

      Some newspaper reports on the crash of Flight 705:

      http://www3.gendisasters.com/florida/12152/everglades-fl-air-liner-crashes-feb-1963

  33. mark fleming mckim says:

    My cousin, Lois Fleming, was a passenger on NWO 710. I was only 5 at the time, but I remember very little was said about the crash, then or afterwards. My cousin was a very bright, sweet freshman @ Northwestern going to Miami for Spring Break to meet up with her parents, Dr. and Mrs.Stuart Fleming. He flew in hundreds of planes duringWWII but they never flew on any airplane agai n, even foregoing a trip to Hawaii given as a gift @ their 50th anniversary. Their son named his daughter, born the year following the crash, after Lois. Her married name is Kulas, they live in Connecticut, she is now a nurse, and I believe she attended the 50th anniversary memorial in 2010. Thanks for relating so much info on this tragedy

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