February 15, 1961
Berg, Belgium: Sabena Flight 548, a Boeing 707, registration OO-SJB, plummets to earth from 600 feet after suffering what is suspected to be a faulty stabilizer while in a holding pattern around Zaventem airport near Brussels, Belgium. The crew reported no difficulties with the plane during flight and while holding over the airport while a smaller plane was taxiing off of the runway, suddenly climbed before rolling over and crash-landing into a farmer’s field. Debris from the crash killed the farmer while another farmer was also wounded by debris.
Most unfortunate was the flight was carrying the entire 1961 U. S. Figure Skating team as well as a majority of the coaching staff. In all, sixty-one passengers, eleven crew members, and one farmer lost their lives that day. The crash marked the first crash of the Boeing 707, over two years since its placement into full-time commercial use.