B-25 Bomber Flies Into The Empire State Building, 1945
July 28, 1945
En route to Newark airport on a Saturday morning, Lt. Colonel William Smith requests permission to land at LaGuardia airport due to thick fog. Reporting near-zero visibility, the tower advises him not to land. Ignoring the tower's reply, he proceeds to approach for landing.
After passing the Chrysler building, Smith incorrectly banks to the right, and when he dips below the fog ceiling, realizes he is flying among skyscrapers. At 9:48am, Colonel Smith and the 10-ton B-25 Mitchell bomber he is piloting smashes into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, killing all 3 crew members as well as 11 others inside the building.
Though the U.S. government offers compensation to the families within the year, only a few accept. The other families file a lawsuit which would successfully escalate all the way to the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946, giving U.S. citizens the right to sue the federal government for the first time.