San Diego Remembers Victims of PSA Flight 182 Tragedy in North Park

On Sept. 25, 1978, PSA Flight 182 crashed midair with a single-engine Cessna over North Park, killing a total of 144 people

The 144 lives lost in the deadliest aircraft disaster in California’s history were memorialized Wednesday in San Diego's North Park, the neighborhood over which PSA Flight 182 crashed 41 years ago. 

On Sept. 25, 1978, the commercial airliner crashed with a single-engine Cessna, killing all 135 people aboard PSA Flight 182, the two men aboard the Cessna and seven people on the ground. A total of 22 homes in the area were destroyed or damaged as the Boeing 727 hit the ground.

[G] Victims of PSA Flight 182 Crash Remembered

The wreckage came to rest near Boundary and Felton streets, turning a serene neighborhood into what resembled a war zone. On Wednesday, the 41st anniversary of the tragedy, community members gathered in that neighborhood to pay tribute to the dozens of people who died. 

Giovanni Fiol remembers the details of that day vividly; he was 16 years old. It was extremely hot, 105 degrees, he said, and Santa Ana winds were blowing. 

He remembers the details because he lost his Tia Olga that day. 

“Later that day we found out that yes indeed it was her that had passed away," he said. "It has saddened us for many many years."

Sept. 25 marks 37 years since the PSA Flight 182 tragedy, when the passenger plane collided with another aircraft over San Diego’s North Park community. City leaders and those impacted by the crash will remember the 144 lives lost. NBC 7’s Candice Nguyen reports.

Fiol is part of a the PSA Flight 182 Historical Memorial Committee, which has urged the city since 2014 to erect a permanent memorial at the crash site. 

Currently, the closest memorial is a plaque beneath a tree at the North Park library and the makeshift tribute put together each year by family, city leaders, community members.

Year after year, students from a nearby school write out in chalk each of the names of the people who died that day. Wednesday was no different. 

Above the chalk tribute, newspaper clippings, photographs of victims and wreaths and handmade posters hung on fences in the neighborhood struck by tragedy more than four decades ago. 

San Diegans are pushing for a new memorial in North Park to honor victims killed in the 1978 PSA Flight 182 disaster — the deadliest aircraft disaster to date in California’s history. NBC 7’s Omari Fleming reports.
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