NEW YORK -- A giant United Air Lines DC8 jet and a TWA Super Constellation with a total of 127 persons aboard collided in a snowstorm over New York City today and plummeted to ground 12 miles apart.
One 11-year-old boy, Stephen Baltz of Chicago, appeared to be the only survivor.
The huge DC8 on which he was one of the 76 passengers and seven crew members thundered in flames into a row of brownstone tenements in Brooklyn, setting an entire block aflame.
Victims killed in their homes added to the apparent death toll of 126 on the planes.
The TWA Constellation, bound from Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, to New York, fell on Staten Island 12 miles southwest of the Brooklyn crash. It carried 39 passengers, including two infants and a crew of five.
Six living persons were carried from the TWA wreckage to hospitals but all six died shortly after arrival.
Big Fire Started
The crash of the big United DC8 jet in Brooklyn set off a tremendous fire which spread to a row of brownstone buildings whose residents fled into the snow-filled streets. Fire equipment from Manhattan sped across the East River bridges into Brooklyn to fight the seven-alarm fire.
The pilot of the TWA propeller-driven craft apparently was trying to bring his plane down in an emergency landing. It crashed near Miller's Field, a small airport on Staten Island.
Police reported there were two survivors in the crash of the TWA plane on Staten Island.
Some injured survivors were reported in the United crash in Brooklyn.
The United plane started a five-alarm fire, setting office buildings aflame.
TWA reported that its plane was Flight 266 out of Dayton and Columbus, Ohio. It was reported to have been carrying 37 passengers and five crewmen.
The Coast Guard reported its helicopters had picked up six survivors of the TWA crash and taken them to Staten Island Public Health Hospital.
TWA said its plane was a Super Constellation.
All auxiliary police in Brooklyn were called out. The scene of the crash was on Flatbush Avenue between the downtown section of Brooklyn and Prospect Park.
The TWA plane came down near Miller's field, a small airport on Staten Island across the bridges to Brooklyn. At least three buildings were aflame.
United Air Lines said a DCS jet from Chicago was overdue at International Airport. Police reported the TWA plane might be a Boeing 707 jet.
Mrs. Sweeney of Brooklyn:
"The crash shook my whole house. They can't get the fire under control. People are being evacuated and running around screaming. Homes and buildings are on fire."
A morning rain had turned to snow shortly before the collision.
An eyewitness to the Staten Island crash, Peter Bennett, said:
"Through the window of St. Charles Seminary, we saw a four-engined plane explode in the air. A wing came off. Then it crashed."
The Rev. Raymond Morgan, who was walking in Brooklyn, said:
"I saw something that looked like a guided missile coming out of the sky. I ran to the corner and as I was running I heard an explosion. I turned the corner and saw a large flame that went skyward.
"I ran into the rectory and told the other priests what had happened. I got some holy oil to administer the last rites. I got as close as I could, but the flames and heat were terrific. I saw three bodies in the debris."
The TWA plane -- in the words of one eyewitness -- "disintegrated" as it was gliding down toward the field on Staten Island.
Mrs. Evelyn O'Keefe, who lives near the field, said"
"I was in the kitchen doing the dishes when I heard a terrible explosion. I couldn't make out what it was. There were other explosions that followed. This plane was disintegrating right before my eyes.
"Everything was blown apart. Parts of the plane were falling. It hit power lines and bounced to the ground
"I didn't hear any screaming I was hysterical. I ran out into the street. There was a fire across the street. The nose of the plane landed in front of the house."
The Douglas DC8 is a 575-m.p.h jet airliner half as long as a football field. It gets its power from four jet engines carried in pods under the wings. The DC8 can carry more than 150 passengers at altitudes up to 40,000 feet.
The United plane was scheduled to arrive at Idlewild Airport at 10:45 a.m. The TWA plane was headed for LaGuardia Field about 12 miles northwest of Idlewild, and was due in at 10:40. The collision occurred about 10:30.
Three Previous Crashes
There have been three previous fatal jetliner crashes. They involved two Boeing 707s and one Convair 880, but all occurred on training flights and no passengers were aboard. This was the first involving passengers.
The wreckage of the planes fell approximately 12 miles apart.
More than 100 firemen frantically pulled apart the mass of wreckage on Staten Island looking for possible survivors. Fire Chief John Savage said rescue squads were on the scene within minutes but the water at first did not quench the flames.
Twenty-three bodies were placed on stretchers in an orderly row just outside the rescue area. Others were taken to the Sea View hospital morgue.
In Brooklyn, snow was falling on the army of nurses, doctors, hospital attendants and firemen. Police Commissioner Stephen Kennedy pleaded with the public to stay away but a huge crowd surrounded the perimeter of the crash area.