Katie Couric's Notebook: Stevie Baltz, 50 Years Later

Last Updated Dec 16, 2010 12:17 AM EST

It was 50 years ago tomorrow.

11-year-old Stevie Baltz boarded a United DC-Eight in Chicago, excited to be traveling to New York City for Christmas.

Out the window, he saw the snow and thought, "it looked like a picture out of a fairy book."

Moments later, the plane collided with a TWA Constellation, which crashed on Staten Island.

Stevie's plane went down in Brooklyn, setting an entire block on fire.

It was, at the time, the worst air disaster ever. 134 people died instantly.

But there was one survivor.


A photo shows him lying in the snow. Injured, but alive and awake. A pre-Christmas miracle.

Hour after hour, the entire city prayed for just one more -- please let him live.

But it was not to be.

In the hospital where Stevie died the next day, the four dimes and five nickels he had in his pocket are mounted on a plaque dedicated to "a brave little boy."

That's a page from my Notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.


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