Continental Airlines Flight 11 Explodes

Continental Flight 11 took off from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) at 20:35 for a one hour flight to Kansas City (MKC). The airplane climbed to FL390 and was vectored around a storm area.

Just before the Waverly controller wanted to hand off Flight 11 Kansas City Center, in the vicinity of Centerville, IA, an explosive decompression occurred. The flight crew initiate the required emersency descent procedures and donned their smoke masks due to the dense fog which formed in the cabin immediately after the decompression. At separation of the tail, the remaining aircraft structure pitched nose down violently, causing the engines to tear off, after which it fell in uncontrolled gyrations. The fuselage of the Boeing 707, minus the aft 38 feet, and with part of the left and most of the right wing intact, struck the ground, headed westerly down a 10-degree slope of an alfalfa field.

Residents in a northern Missouri community are still shocked after a tragic plane crash that occured 46 years ago.

Sometimes it takes a disaster for everyone to open their eyes.

Retired farmer Ron Cook has never forgotten May 22, 1962. He was 17 years old.

"The authorities woke us up knocking on the door, honking the horn, what the heck was going on," Cook said.

The Cooks lived near the Missouri-Iowa border in Putnam County, not far from Unionville where Cook lived.

At 4 a.m. Ron made a startling discovery. Continental Airlines Flight 11 to Kansas City didn't make it.

Continental Airlines Flight 11, registration N70775, was a Boeing 707 aircraft which exploded close to Centerville, Iowa, while en route from O'Hare Airport, Chicago, Illinois, to Kansas City, Missouri, on May 22, 1962. The aircraft crashed in a clover field near Unionville, in Putnam County, Missouri, killing all 45 crew and passengers on board.

Flight 11 departed O'Hare at 8:35 PM. The flight was routine until just before the Mississippi River, when it deviated from its filed flight plan to the north to avoid a line of thunderstorms. In the vicinity of Centerville, Iowa, the radar image of the aircraft disappeared from the scope of the Waverly, Iowa, Flight Following Service. At approximately 9:17 p.m. an explosion occurred in the right rear lavatory, resulting in separation of the tail section from the fuselage. The aircraft broke up and the main part of the fuselage struck the ground about 6 miles north-northwest of Unionville, Missouri.