Grand Canyon designates 1956 TWA-United Airlines accident landmark

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – Tuesday, the National Park Service announced plans to dedicate one of the nation’s newest national historic landmarks, the 1956 Grand Canyon TWA-United Airlines Aviation Accident Site in Grand Canyon National Park. This site commemorates a horrific airline collision that occurred over the Grand Canyon in 1956.

On July 8 at 10 a.m., a public dedication ceremony of the National Historic Landmark designation will take place at the Desert View Amphitheater looking out toward the crash site. This ceremony will commemorate those who perished in the crash, recognize the significance of the accident, and acknowledge family members and friends of the crash victims.

Grand Canyon National Park will also commemorate the 58th anniversary of the midair collision at 10 a.m. on June 30, holding simultaneous wreath laying ceremonies at the United Airlines Memorial in Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery and at the TWA Memorial in the Flagstaff Citizens Cemetery. Visitors to the park will be able to participate in a series of interpretive programs about the collision at Desert View throughout the day and are invited to attend a special evening program presented by archaeologist Ian Hough at McKee Amphitheater at 8:30 p.m.

All of the events are open to the public.

History

On June 30, 1956, a Trans World Airlines Super Constellation L-1049 and a United Airlines DC-7 collided in uncongested airspace 21,000 feet over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, killing all 128 people onboard the two flights. The tragedy spurred an unprecedented effort to modernize and increase safety in America’s postwar airways, culminating in the establishment of the modern Federal Aviation Administration.

The National Historic Landmarks Program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. The agency works with preservation officials, private property owners and other partners interested in nominating properties for National Historic Landmark designation. Completed nominations are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior.

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