January 1982 was very cold and snowy in the Eastern half of the U.S. On January 13 a snowstorm paralyzed the Southeast and then moved into the mid-Atlantic states. The storm proved deadly for passengers of a Ft. Lauderdale bound Air Florida jet flying out of Washington, D.C in the middle of the afternoon.
Not properly de-iced, the plane was unable to gain sufficient altitude and crashed into the Potomac River after taking off from National Airport, its tail wing clipping a nearby bridge just a few miles from the White House. Dramatic TV footage showed rescuers desperately trying to reach some passengers in the icy waters. Unfortunately, unlike the "Miracle on the Hudson" 27 years later, very few passengers survived since this was a crash and not a water landing. Only five passeners survived - 78 others (and four motorists on the bridge) were killed.
Although my office (ad agency Young & Rubicam) had closed early because of the snow (which began during lunchtime in NYC) I was still in my office when I heard the radio bulletin reporting on the crash late that afternoon.
Because I briefly worked on the Eastern Airlines account at Y&R I knew the repercussions a plane crash had for media planners working on any airline account. All media outlets carrying airline advertising had to be contacted to make sure all ads were pulled. (Although most outlets knew to do this without being contacted, the calls still had be made). However, this time no one at Y&R had to scramble because the agency had lost the Eastern account four months earlier (after 17 years).