The perfect haze: Scientists link 1999 U.S. pollution episode to midwest aerosol plumes and Kennedy plane crash


  • Randy Showstack


The crash of John F Kennedy Jrs single-engine Piper Saratoga airplane in the waters off of Marthas Vineyard, Massachusetts, on July 16, 1999, prompted round-the-clock, global media coverage. Cameras panned the waters as the search began the following day, Saturday Pundits at first commented on the likelihood of survival of the late U.S. president's son, who piloted the plane, and the passengers—his wife and sister-in-law. Television screens displayed the projected, hour-and-one-half, nighttime flight path east from New Jersey As the tragedy unfolded, coverage focused on speculation about the cause of the crash. News analysts repeatedly mentioned that haze attributed to summertime heat and high humidity levels may have sharply reduced visibility during the flight.