Transcribed from Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, WA, March 19, 1962, p. 4:

Flash Reported

Plane Sabotage Possible

 

MANILA (AP) — A report of a mysterious flash of light in the sky increased suspicion today that the American chartered military transport plane which vanished five nights ago blew up and was possibly sabotaged.

U.S. officials said a “bright light strong enough to light” a ship’s decks was sighted by a Liberain [sic] tanker in the western Pacific along the scheduled route of the missing Flying Tiger Super Constellation bound for South Viet Nam with 107 persons aboard.

A spokesman at rescue headquarters in Guam said, “with the search in its fourth day, more credence is given to the possibility that the tanker may have seen the missing aircraft explode in flight.”

An official of the Flying Tiger Line, which operated the plane, said if investigation reveals the plane blew up it would strengthen previous suspicions of sabotage.

Frank B. Lynoff, executive vice president in charge of operations, said experts consider it impossible for a violent explosion to occur about its Super-Constellations under normal circumstances.

“So far as blowing completely apart,” he said, “there’s nothing that powerful aboard: the fuel tanks just don’t go off like that.”

Lynoff said he was sure “something violent must have happened,” however, because of the failure of the plane to radio it was having trouble.

The tanker T. L. Linzen said it sighted the bright light in the sky early Friday morning — about 90 minutes after the plane made its last report.

The Super-Constellation was last heard from about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, 270 miles west of Guam, and gave no hint of anything amiss.

The tanker reported sighting the light about 550 miles west of Guam and said “this was followed by two falling red lights described as one dropping fast and one dropping slow.”

A widespread air-sea search has failed to turn up a single clue.

Five partially submerged objects floating along the route the airliner was scheduled to follow turned out to be a 120-foot long tree trunk.

Chances Doubtful

Maj. Gen. Theodore R. Milton, commander of the 13th Air Force, said although the chances for finding survivors “are certainly not bright, our crews will continue to make every effort as long as there is any hope at all.”

For the first time, no planes were dispatched from the Philippines to search through the night. A spokesman said the purpose was to conserve units for another maximum effort tomorrow.

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