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Canyon Lake History: Remembering Linda Prince

Canyon Lake resident Linda Prince was just 29 years old when she perished in a 1979 plane crash. Photo by Canyon Lake Lighthouse Magazine.

At the age of 29, Canyon Lake resident Linda Prince perished in the May 25, 1979, DC 10 plane crash.

American Airlines Flight 191 was taking off from the runway at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago (heading to Los Angeles International Airport) when the left engine detached, causing a loss of control. 

The plane went down less than a mile from the end of the runway, killing all 258 passengers, 13 crew, and two people on the ground. With 273 fatalities, it was the deadliest aviation accident to have occurred in the United States at that time. 

Prince was a nine-year veteran flight attendant at American Airlines and worked part-time at the Real Estate House.

Prince was an avid water and snow skier and a member of the Canyon Lake Tennis Club. A 1979 Lighthouse Magazine article described Prince as a caring person who would take the time to listen to people with problems. She loved her family, friends, co-workers, animals, and living plants.

A memorial wall honoring the victims of Flight 191 was installed two miles east of the crash site and formally dedicated in a ceremony on October 15, 2011, 32 years after the crash. Photo provided by Des Plaines Park District.

Prince was survived by her husband, parents, and brother.

A memorial was installed two miles east of the crash site on the south shore of Lake Opeka, at Lake Park at the northwest corner of Lee and Touhy Avenues. The two-foot-high concave wall has interlocking bricks displaying the names of the crash victims.

The memorial was formally dedicated in a ceremony on October 15, 2011, 32 years after the crash. A remembrance ceremony was held at the memorial on May 25, 2019, the 40th anniversary of the accident.

The National Geographic Channel produced a documentary on the crash and an episode from Seconds From Disaster titled “Chicago Plane Crash” detailed the crash. 

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