Today in History: December 12th

2003: Paul Martin is sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada and promises to make drastic changes in the way the country is run.

1985: A plane crashes just after takeoff near Gander, Newfoundland, killing all 248 U.S. soldiers and eight crew members. The soldiers, part of a multinational peacekeeping force in the Sinai Desert, were on the last leg of their trip home to Kentucky for Christmas. It was the deadliest air disaster in Canada. It was a suspected act of terrorism.

1942: A fire tears through the Knights of Columbus Hall in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in just seven minutes, killing 99 people. Many died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The auditorium was packed with 350 people on this Saturday night for a weekly radio program “Uncle Tim’s Barn Dance.” It’s thought the fire was deliberately set.