On This Day, Feb. 15: U.S. figure skating team killed in plane crash

Feb. 15 (UPI) — On this date in history:

In 1764, the city of St. Louis was founded along the Mississippi River.

In 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbor, killing 260 crewmen and leading to a U.S. declaration of war against Spain.

In 1933, U.S. President-elect Franklin Roosevelt narrowly escaped assassination in Miami when several shots were fired at him, fatally wounding Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak.

In 1942, the British bastion of Singapore surrendered to the Japanese army.

In 1961, all 18 members of the U.S. figure skating team were killed when their plane crashed in Belgium during their trip to an international meet in Prague. Among the dead were reigning U.S. champion Laurence Owen, 16, her mother, nine-time U.S. champion Maribel Vinson Owen, and her sister, pairs champion Maribel Owen, 20.

In 1965, Canada adopted a new national flag featuring a maple leaf emblem.

File Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI.

In 1982, the oil-drilling rig Ocean Ranger capsized and sank in a storm off Newfoundland. All 84 people aboard were lost.

In 1989, Radio Moscow announced the last Soviet soldier had left Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 1992, a jury found Jeffrey Dahmer to be sane and guilty of killing 15 young men and boys, condemning him to life in prison.

In 1996, a Liberian-registered oil tanker, the Sea Empress, ran aground off the coast of Wales, spilling 72,000 tons of crude oil into the sea.

In 1997, Tara Lipinski, 14, defeated defending women’s champion Michelle Kwan to become the youngest U.S. figure skating champion.

File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

In 2002, discovery of a human skull in a wooded area near a crematory in Georgia led investigators to remains of more than 300 bodies that were to have been cremated but instead were stacked in sheds and in the woods.

In 2005, a U.S. appeals court in Washington ruled that journalists have no First Amendment privilege to protect confidential sources.

In 2008, Steve Fossett, the 63-year-old millionaire commodities trader turned record-breaking aviator, was declared legally dead five months after he vanished while flying in Nevada.

In 2012, fire broke out in an overcrowded Honduras prison, killing a reported 359 inmates and a visiting wife, one of the worst prison fire death tolls in history. One of the convicts was suspected of starting the fast-moving conflagration by setting his mattress on fire.

In 2013, Russian officials said a hail of meteorite fragments hit the Chelyabinsk region, injuring more than 1,000 people, most of the victims hit by glass from shattered windows.

In 2014, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more 140,000 people, including 7,600 children, had been killed in Syria’s 3-year-old civil war.

In 2019, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border to divert billions of federal dollars to wall construction.

File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI