1: 1977: The Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash
It was on this date in 1977 the popular rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd suffered a horrible tragedy when the plane they had chartered crashed outside of Gillsburg, Mississippi. The crash resulted in the loss of three core members of the group, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines and Ronnie Van Zant as well as the band’s assistant road manager and both pilots. Somehow the rest of the band and twenty other people onboard survived which was a miracle in itself. It was later reported that the band Aerosmith had originally planned on chartering that specific Corvair 240, but they apparently had issues with the flight crew and opted to find another plane. Lynyrd Skynyrd had chartered the plane to take them from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Lousiana when the pilot radioed the Houston air traffic control to inform them they were losing altitude and had ran out of gas. The pilot was asking for directions to the nearest airfield so he could make an emergency landing but wasn’t able to make it. The plane went down in a heavily forested area just outside Gillsburg, Mississippi.
2. 1973: Sydney Opera House opened
The Sydney Opera House is by far Australia’s most popular landmark. With its geometric shapes and the way it’s positioned out on Bennelong Point, it’s almost the equivalent of the Statue of Liberty in New York. After more than 15 years of construction, and a reported $80 million, the Opera House was finally completed on this date in 1973. Queen Elizabeth II was on hand to perform the dedication. The building itself consisted of several large auditoriums and was used for many other events besides just Opera. Actually, there’s an average of roughly 3,000 events held there each year with more than 2 million visitors. The first production at the building was War and Peace by Sergei Prokofiev’s and was held in the opera Theater which had just over 1,500 seats. The Opera House was an immediate success and has been ever since.
3. 1944 East Ohio Gas explosion
Just after 2:30pm on this date in 1944, workers at the East Ohio Gas company spotted something leaking out of one of the massive storage tanks that held natural gas. The tank was sad to be 57 feet in diameter and could hold up to 90 million cubic feet of the extremely flammable gas. According to reports, just 10 minutes later there was an extremely violent explosion that shot flames over 2,500 feet high. Firefighters from all over the city of Cleveland were called to help try and gain control of the blaze but the flames were too intense. Shortly after the first tank exploded, another smaller tank went off as well. Anyone and anything within a half mile of the blast was completely destroyed. Over 10,000 people of the surrounding area had to be evacuated. After more than a day battling the inferno, firefighters managed to bring the fire under control. It was at that time rescue workers realized there had been 130 people that did not survive the blast, most of which were burned so badly they could not be identified. Also, more than two hundred people were severely injured. As far as property damage, over 79 homes, two factories, and 200 vehicles were completely destroyed resulting in roughly $10 million worth of damages. The cause of the leak, which lead to the explosion, was due to storing the gas at improper temperatures that caused the steel plates to crack and rupture.