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What Happened on August 16?

  • An airliner crashed onto a highway in Detroit; the only survivor was one 4-year-old passenger. (1987) Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed during takeoff from Detroit Metro Airport, hitting the I-94 freeway. The plane hit a car, killing both passengers in the car, all crew members on the plane, and all but one of the aircraft passengers. The lone survivor was a 4-year-old girl named Cecelia Cichan.

  • The "King of Rock and Roll" Elvis Presley died. (1977) Presley was found unconscious at his Graceland Mansion and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He died of a heart attack, likely brought on by a drug overdose. He was 42.

  • Sports Illustrated published its first issue. (1954) Today the magazine is read by more than 23 million people each week and has more than 3 million subscribers. It is perhaps best known for its popular annual Swimsuit Issue.

  • A solar flare brought the Toronto stock market to a screeching halt. (1989) The geomagnetic storm interfered with computer micro chips and brought trading to a halt for three hours.

  • An effigy of US President John Tyler was burned on the White House lawn. (1841) The effigy was set up by President Tyler's own political party when he vetoed a bill that would re-establish the Bank of the United States. Protesters also threw rocks at the White House. It was the most violent White House incident in history.

  • A parachuter set three world records jumping over New Mexico. (1960) Joseph Kittinger jumped 102,800 feet (31,330 meters) and set records for free-fall, highest-altitude jump and fastest human speed without an airplane. His records stood until 2012, when they were broken by Felix Baumgartner.

  • Major League Baseball player Ray Chapman was hit in the head with a pitch and killed during a game. (1920) Chapman was at bat for the Cleveland Indians and was struck in the head with a fast ball from pitcher Carl Mays playing for the New York Yankees. He is only the second player to die from a game injury — the first was in 1909 when Doc Powers hit a wall chasing a fast ball and died two weeks later.

  • 6,000 soldiers — mostly children — were massacred in the Battle of Acosta Nu. (1869) The children were serving for the Paraguay battalion during the War of the Triple Alliance when the Brazilian Army overwhelmed them in an eight-hour battle. This day is observed today as "Children's Day" in Paraguay in honor of the children who died in the battle.

  • A tsunami hit Chile, killing as many as 70,000 people. (1868) The tsunami was created by an 8.5-magnitude earthquake that hit the coasts of Chile and Peru.

  • Madonna was born. (1958) Madonna is an American musician, actress and businesswoman. She has sold more than 250 million albums and is the best-selling female recording artist in history, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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