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NEWARK, April 23--A carton of several hundred 1.5-ounce jars of jam and marmalade fell from a transcontinental airliner Sunday evening and shattered the windshield of a car on the New Jersey Turnpike, the New Jersey state police said today. . . .

--The New York Times

The driver of the car, Pearl N. Hoffritz, who will be 62 Friday, suffered a deviated septum and smeared lap, but was otherwise unharmed, reported Highway Patrolman Morton Caulsen of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Mrs. Hoffritz's dress, described by her as a "cotton shirtwaist, sashed and printed with grain silos,' was later taken to the Thomas Edison Cleaners in West Orange.

Also in the car at the time were Mrs. Hoffritz's daughter-in-law, Cheryl, 29; a neighbor, Doris Fairfax, 57; and Mrs. Hoffritz's fox terrier, Trajan, 5, Patrolman Caulsen added. All were uninjured. The four, from Flemington, New Jersey, were on their way back from the Molly Pitcher Kennel near Newark International Airport where the dog had stayed during the Hoffritzes' recent trip to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia, three miles southeast of Charlottesville.

Iron Curtain Pulp

Officials of Globus, an international airline serving many gourmet foodstuffs imported from the Soviet Union, could offer no explanation as to why the contents of a carton of Unischmak stoned cherry preserves, produced in Hungary and exported by BudaPectin, had made its way from Flight 7 to the windshield of Mrs. Hoffritz's car, a 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic.

"It is beating me,' said Igor Kutsk, marmalade chandler for Globus. Mr. Kutsk said that the carton had come from Comecon Caterers based in Rahway, and that several cartons "had been expecting' to go on the flight.

[U.P.I. reported that Federal Aviation Administration officials had deduced that the catering staff had made their delivery on the wing of the plane rather than inside. "The cartons were inadequately stowed,' they said. "When the plane left, they apparently fell off.']

Awful Mess

When contacted, spokesmen for Tiptree and Hero, Unischmak's chief competitors, said they knew nothing of the incident. A preserves engineer at Smucker's said he doubted that jam was the real culprit. "The Young's modulus for jam--that is, its stiffness--is higher than for jelly. They're both flexible, but jam is stronger in terms of its ability to withstand stress. From police reports, we think it must be jelly, because jam doesn't shake like that.'

Patrolman Caulsen said that Mrs. Hoffritz was in the process of signaling to get over to the right lane about 100 yards from Exit 29, on a path parallel with the runway, when the episode took place.

"She complained that her view was suddenly cut off by a shooting jar. Before she knew it, the windshield was broken and she was coated with fruit,' Caulsen said.

Another driver near the accident turned in two cans of hearts of palm that he said had fallen from the same plane into the back seat of his convertible, police reported. Distributed in this country by CrimeaVeg, they were exported originally from Yalta. Officers at the heart-of-palm factory there could not be reached for comment, although a spokesman denied they had any record of anything.


Mr. Caulsen said that he had checked back on Monday with Mrs. Hoffritz and her passengers, but that they "were reluctant' to discuss it further. Mrs. Fairfax did say that while she knew Mrs. Hoffritz had other dresses, she thought the grain-silo motif would be hard to duplicate. "It's not a contemporary image,' she said, adding that the dress had probably come from Nebraska, where Mrs. Hoffritz's family originated. Her grandfather, Oscar Hoffritz, was the first man in Beatrice to own and operate a McCormick reaper.

Asked whether Comecon Caterers or Globus had volunteered to reimburse her for the dress or the cleaning bill, Mrs. Hoffritz said, "No, I've heard peeps from neither of them.' The family is going ahead with plans for her surprise birthday party, scheduled for Friday evening, she said.

Arnold Duboff, an investigator with the F.A.A., said that air controllers who were in contact with the plane during its takeoff and departure reported no unexpected flight data from the pilot during the event. "At this time the Boeing 727 has no indicators that would detect wing jam,' Mr. Duboff said.

He added that technicians at the F.A.A.'s flight safety laboratories in Piscataway had examined Mrs. Hoffritz's car upholstery at the Galloping Hill Wrecking Company near Fanwood, and that pectin samples had confirmed the identity of the preserves.

By 10 A.M. this morning, the airport runway was cordoned off for hosing, after children from a nearby housing development began to collect with knives and toast.
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Title Annotation:investigation into carton of food falling from transcontinental airliner
Author:Crowther, Prudence
Publication:The Nation
Date:Jun 16, 1984
Previous Article:Away.
Next Article:Weakness and deceit: U.S. policy and El Salvador.

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