This week marks the 50th anniversary of the miracle Minneapolis Lakers corn field landing in Carroll, Iowa. On January 17, 1960, the Minneapolis Lakers departed St. Louis after losing to the St. Louis Hawks 135-119. Shortly after takeoff, the DC-3 charter plane began experiencing electrical problems, and eventually lost all electricity, including the fuel gauge. Unable to turn back because of air traffic in St. Louis, the plane flew for three to four hours above a massive winter storm. Eventually the plane started to veer off-course and the pilots decided they were going to have to make an emergency landing. Co-pilots Vernon Ullman and Harold Gifford managed to catch sight of Highway 71 in the snowstorm and land safely in a corn field (the Emma Steffes farm).
Carroll resident John Steffes, whose parents owned the farm where the plane landed, described the story behind the landing on Mouth of Midwest on 1700 the Champ this week. Listen to John’s story here. After landing on the Emme Steffes farm, the players were transported to a hotel in Carroll. The pilots and team were pretty shaken up by the whole incident, and rumor has it that one of the players ripped off the liquor cabinet door at the hotel and poured himself a big glass of whiskey. “The Good Stuff” perhaps?
On January 17th, 2010, the good people of Carroll, Iowa, remembered the miracle landing of the Minneapolis Lakers 50th anniversary with a ceremony. A monument was unveiled by 86-year old co-pilot Harold Gifford in Carroll’s Veteran’s Memorial Park, less than 100 yards from where the plane stopped.
Read more on about the Lakers landing in Carroll:
Valiant efforts saved Lakers – Omaha World-Herald
Happy anniversary: Lakers survive crash – Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Iowa Landing Was ‘Magic’ for the Lakers – Daily Yonder
50 years ago today: Lakers narrowly avert disaster – ESPN.com