Like a Falling Leaf - The 1954 Plane Collision Over Moose Jaw

Creator(s): Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery

At 10:02 a.m. on Thursday, April 8, 1954 a Royal Canadian Air Force Harvard trainer collided with a Trans-Canada Air Lines North Star passenger plane in the skies over Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, scattering wreckage and debris over a three-mile radius in the city's northeast end. One of the North Star's engines landed on Moose Jaw's main street. The fuselage crashed into the house at 1324 Third Avenue North East, missing Ross Public School and the 360 students inside by only 166 yards.

Thirty-seven people died in the mid-air collision: RCAF training pilot Thomas Andrew Thorrat, 31 passengers and four TCA crew members on board the North Star and one Moose Jaw citizen, Mrs. Martha Hadwen.

On the ground provincial, military and civic officials worked side by side with civilian volunteers to put out fires, collect bodies, locate evidence, control the gathering crowd and deliver the terrible news to families of the victims.

Despite three detailed investigations, no responsibility for the accident was ever determined.

Like a Falling Leaf: The 1954 Plane Collision Over Moose Jaw recounts the horror and heroics of that dreadful day and traces the impact of the tragedy 50 years later.

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