Fifty years later, survivors of deadliest plane crash in NKY gather at memorial

BURLINGTON, Ky. -- Though she was aboard the plane, Tracy Smith-Eby can’t remember the deadliest crash of Northern Kentucky history.

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“I was the baby. I was 15 months old, and I was the youngest survivor from the plane crash,” Smith-Eby said.

Seventy people died that snowy November night exactly 50 years ago when TWA Flight 128 clipped the treetops on the hillside above the Ohio River, "bounced" over the hill and hit more trees before crashing in an apple orchard.

A firefighter found Smith-Eby in a tree. She was one of twelve who survived.

Survivors, families and members of the community gathered at a memorial Sunday to honor those who lost their lives on Nov. 20, 1967.  

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Firefighter Harold Vines responded to the crash. He said he remembers Smith-Eby stuck in the tree. He didn’t save her -- another firefighter did -- but he remembers working to save others.

“We did the best we could,” Vines said. “The third explosion, all hell broke loose.”

The crash was the deadliest of five commercial airline disasters at or near Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport.

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Scott Wolf was on board TWA Flight 128 with his parents. He and his mother survived, but his father, Dr. Frederick Wolf, died in the crash.

“For the past 50 years I’ve thought of my father every day,” Wolf said. “I wish all the survivors continued strength. Together, we stand strong.”

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