Joy Anderson with four of her five children -- Peter, Robert, Ruth and Virginia --
two years before the air crash that took the young mother's life.Her youngest,
Jean, who is not in the photo, was born just a few months before the plane disaster.
Dear Mr. McCarthy:
Our family is grateful for the New York City Department of Correction and the New York Correction History Society's efforts in commemorating the 1957 Rikers Island air disaster and the heroism of both departmental staff and inmates that terrible night.
My mother, Joy Anderson, was one of the 20 fatalities in the air crash. My father, Ralph Hartley Anderson, was aboard the aircraft as well and survived, but was badly burned.
An inmate pulled him from the flames, but was unable to rescue my mother due to the rapid increase of heat and smoke. The rescue effort of the inmates and officers was quite astounding.
Joy Anderson had been sitting beside her husband Hartley Anderson.
Their trip had commenced in Montreal.
The event was catastrophic for our family in many ways.
But the five surviving children back home in Canada were raised up, with the help of many relatives and friends and, after dad remarried in 1959, my stepmother.
I was only 3 years old when mom died, and have no recollection of her. But there is a painful sense of loss that haunts me to this day.
I became a private pilot years ago, and decided to look into the technical aspects of the crash.
Blame, though, solves nothing; so perhaps my coming to the site will finally bring closure to this sadness for me.
I also would like a chance to thank the department and related authorities in some way for the amazing people they had in charge that night.
The decision by the warden to allow inmates out beyond the walls must have been fraught with personal and professional risk. But in so doing that decision saved lives, including Dad's, and prevented five little tots back in Montreal from being orphaned.
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 Remembering Mario DeRosa.
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.