Transcribed from The Free-Lance Star, Fredericksburg, VA, March 16, 1962, p. 1,3:

Search Continuing For Plane Missing With 107 Aboard

Many Military Men Carried By Airliner

 

By CARL ZIMMERMAN
MANILA (AP) — U.S. military planes and ships pressed a hunt between Guam and the Philippines tonight for a chartered airliner which vanished at sea with 107 persons, chiefly American Army men, on a flight to war-torn South Viet Nam.

A full 24 hours passed since the four-engine Super Constellation, owned by the California-based Flying Tiger Line, radioed its last message. This was a routine report to Guam from a position 270 miles west of that U.S. base in the western Pacific, as it headed for Clark Air Force Base, north of Manila.

Search craft crisscrossed 75,000 square miles of the Pacific fruitlessly by daylight and were continuing through the night. Weather was excellent and the sea normal.

93 ARMY PERSONNEL

The Super Constellation carried a crew of 11 Americans, 93 U.S. Army personnel and three South Vietnamese, Travis Air Force Base in California said. Four women were among the crew.

Military sources in Saigon assumed the troops were due to bolster the American forces backing South Viet Nam’s government in its war against the Viet Cong guerrillas.

Fifteen aircraft based at Guam launched the hunt for the Flying Tiger plane. Spread over a 100-mile front, they flew 750 miles westward–to a point about midway between Guam and the Philippines–and then retraced their course eastward.

9 HOURS OF FUEL

The plane took off from Guam at 8:57 p.m. Thursday night carrying fuel for about nine hours flying for the 1,600-mile, eight-hour hop to Clark Air Force Base, north of Manila. It was last heard from 80 minutes later when the pilot sent a routine radio message to Guam from about 270 miles west of the American island base.

The Clark Field Rescue Coordinating Center declared the airliner missing this morning. A U.S. Navy spokesman said it was believed the plane went down closer to Guam than to the Philippines.

U.S. bases in the Western Pacific marshaled a task force of surface ships and Air Force, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard planes.

Seven ships led by the destroyer escort Brister and 15 aircraft were dispatched from Guam. Clark Field, the U.S. 7th Fleet and the Air Force at Okinawa sent additional planes.

The searchers scoured an ocean area stretching 750 miles west of Guam and 100 miles wide.

The airliner, piloted by Capt. Gregory P. Thomas of Red Bank, N.J., left Travis base in northern California Tuesday. Travis is often the originating point for troops being ferried across the Pacific by plane. Flying Tiger is often the carrier. Guam is a regular refueling stop.

Military sources in Saigon said the plane was due in South Viet Nam this morning. It was assumed in the Vietnamese capital that the military personnel aboard the plane were to join U.S. forces bolstering the South Viet Nam government’s fight against the Communist Viet Cong guerrillas.

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