On Monday Carroll, IA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the miracle Minneapolis Laker landing in 1960.
On January 17, the Minneapolis Lakers departed St. Louis after losing to the St. Louis Hawks 135-119. Shortly after takeoff the ancient DC-3 charter plane lost all electricity includes the fuel gauge. Because of the air traffic in St. Louis the was unable to turn back.
For three to four hours it was able to fly above the massive winter storm, but because of the air pressure and lack of a fuel gauge, among other factors, the plane dropped into the storm.
The plane gradually veered off course and the pilots realized they were going to have to find a place to land. Cruising just a couple of hundred feet off the ground, they flew past a water tower. The snow had covered most of the letters, leaving only the last two, “L-L,” Gifford said.
As the plane circled the town after midnight, searching for the airport, Carroll resident Jim Herzog heard it fly directly over his house on the north edge of town. Having flown planes himself, he went outside and watched it. He knew something wasn’t right.
“My wife said, ‘What are you going to do?”’ Herzog said. “I said, ‘I don’t know, but those guys are in trouble.”’
Word spread as the troubled plane noisily circled low over the town. House by house, Carroll residents flipped on their lights in hopes of aiding the crew. Herzog followed his neighbor, a fireman, to the fire station.
Carroll resident John Steffes, whose parents owned the farm where the plane landed, describes the story behind the landing.
Read more on about the Lakers landing in Carroll: