On Feb. 1st, 2007, the family of Mario DeRosa (above, center) participated in 50th anniversary
commemorative services at Ferncliff Cemetery (above, left) in Hartsdale and Immaculate Conception
Catholic Church (above, right) in Eastchester. He was 37 when he died in the Feb. 1, 1957, plane crash.
On February 1, 1957, my father, Mario DeRosa was one of the 95 passengers on board Northeast Airline flight 823 that crashed at Rikers Island in NYC just one minute after takeoff.
He was one of the 20 unfortunate victims who lost their lives on that tragic day. Coincidentally, this accident occurred on his son Anthony’s 8th birthday. My brother was supposed to accompany dad on this trip to celebrate his birthday but became ill the night before and mom wouldn’t let him go.
Dad was an executive with Pope Food Products, a business founded by his father, Michele DeRosa. He was 37 years old when he died. He left behind his wife, Rose, and 4 children, Margaret, Catherine, Michael, and Anthony.
His survivors also included his parents, Concetta and Michele, and 4 siblings (Umberto, Thomas, Alfred, and Delia). His family eventually grew to 15 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.
The Eastern flight was cancelled, as were all other flights that day, except for Flight 823.
The passengers sat on the runway for almost 3 hours until 6 PM when it took off of runway 4 at Laguardia Airport. At 6:01PM, Flight 823 crashed on Rikers Island.
This was a nightmare my family will never forget. At the time of the crash, mom was at the Criterion Theater in Manhattan watching Cecil B. Demille's "Ten Commandments." My brothers and sister and I were at home. We saw a bulletin on TV, but thought nothing of it, since dad’s plane was scheduled to depart at 3 PM.
They told us that they believed that Mario was on the plane that crashed.
The police were then notified to go to Manhattan to the theater to find my mother.
Due to the terrible storm that evening, mom did not get home until after midnight. By this time, my family had already learned that my father was killed. At 3 AM, Northeast Airlines called my house and said that Mario DeRosa was a survivor. For 24 hours, the family was unsure of his fate.
Rose DeRosa was a widow at 35 years old. She later died, in 1973, at the young age of 52.
On February 1st, 2007, the family of Mario DeRosa held a memorial service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death. Forty family members attended, coming from as far away as Las Vegas and Arizona.
In closing, the family would like to be in contact with any other survivors or family members that have any memories of this flight. Please feel free to contact me care of the New York Correction History Society webmaster who will forward your e-mail to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine DeRosa Pallman
To List of DOC staffers honored for air crash response.
To: List of names of those aboard Northeast Airlines DC-6A Feb. 1, 1957
To The Andersons of Canada remember.
To Remembering Esther Chopelas.
To: Other views, other voices: Rikers air crash
To CAB report on its investigation of the crash.
To: 1989 airplane crash into Rikers Island channel waters
To: NYCHS home page.
To NYC DOC history menu page.