Historic Markers Across Florida

1972 B-52 Crash

Marker ID:  
Location: on S Conway Rd at Merryweather Dr, Orlando, FL
County: Orange
Coordinates: N 28° 27.452    W 081° 19.845
  28.45753333    -81.33075
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMK591


Side 1
At 11:20 a.m. on March 31, 1972, a 306th Bombardment Wing B-52D Stratofortress bomber stationed at nearby McCoy Air Force Base (now Orlando International Airport) crashed on this site. The plane, which was not carrying any weapons, had left McCoy minutes earlier and was headed north for a mock bombing exercise over Statesboro, Ga, when the aircraft sustained multiple engine failures and an engine fire, The crew was attempting to return to McCoy for an emergency landing when the aircraft crashed 3,220 feet short of the runway. The crash carved a 150-foot crater in the ground and about 40,000 gallons of fuel ignited and burned much of a two-block area in the residential area adjacent to this site. The crash killed seven Air Force crewmen, including pilot Capt. Wendell W.

Side 2
Campbell, 30, co-pilot Capt. Barry E. Applebee, 26, radar-bombardier Maj. James J. Hammons, 37, navigator 1st. Lt. Robert Heatherly, 26, electronic warfare officer Maj. William E. Kesler, 42, gunner M. Sgt. Allen H. Murray, 53, and instructor-navigator Lt. Col. George M. Gamache, 42. Eight civilians on the ground were injured, including 10-year-old Anthony Ellington, who was playing in a nearby field. Ellington died three days later in a military hospital in San Antonio, Texas, 80 percent of his body covered with burns. The accident remains the worst plane crash in Central Florida history.

This plaque is dedicated in grateful and living tribute to the brave crew and civilian whose lives were lost that day.

Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Mayor-Jennifer Thompson, Commissioner District 4-Orange County Board of County Commissioners


Explore more:
Wikipedia - Boeing B-52 Stratofortress