copyright©2002-2010 Barbara Joan Gushin All RightsReserved.
Ritchie Valens, in Concert at Pacoima Jr. High School
Date / Time: Thursday, January 31, 1957 / 11:19 a.m. During the final test flight of the new Douglas DC-7B airliner over the San Fernando Valley, the plane ran almost head-on into a U.S. Air Force F-89J Scorpion jet fighter which was on a similar test flight. The pilot of the Air Force jet died as the aircraft plummeted into La Tuna Canyon in the Verdugo Mountains. Having lost its left wing, the DC-7B went into a high speed dive, began breaking up about 700 feet about the ground, and crashed into a Pacoima, California churchyard, killing all four crew members. Upon impact, portions of the DC-7B exploded into hundreds of flaming pieces that slashed across the adjacent playground of Pacoima Junior High School, where some 220 boys were just ending their outdoor athletics activities. Ronnie Brann, 13, and Robert Zallan, 12, were struck and killed by the flying blast of wreckage and debris from the crashing airliner. A third gravely injured student, Evan Elsner, 12, died two days later. An estimated 74 additional students on the playground suffered injuries ranging from minor to critical. 
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Thanks are given to Nabor Jaramillo, for the Yearbook pictures.
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Barbara Joan Gushin
Pacoima Jr. High School
This is my school. I graduated in S'57.