Sea Search Abandoned Monday, Nov 16 2009 

Transcribed from Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene, OR, March 23, 1962, p. 2:

Sea Search Abandoned

 

CLARK AFB, Philippines (UP) — The United States Friday called off a massive but futile search for a Flying Tiger Line transport plane that disappeared eight days ago with 107 persons aboard.

Maj. Gen. Theodore R. Milton, commander of the 13th Air Force at Clark Air Base, said the search had ended with no trace found of the airliner or its passengers and crew.

Aboard the plane were 93 Army Rangers, 3 Vietnamese soldiers, and 11 crewmen. The four-engine Super Constellation disappeared March 15 on a six-hour flight from Guam to Manila. The flight was headed for South Viet Nam.

The search was one of the largest air and sea hunts in the history of the Pacific. It covered more than 200,000 square miles of open sea.

Search Continuing For Plane Missing With 107 Aboard Sunday, Nov 15 2009 

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.

Flash Reported, Plane Sabotage Possible Sunday, Nov 15 2009 

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.

Ship Reports Bright Flash Sunday, Nov 15 2009 

Transcribed from Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene, OR, March 19, 1962, p. 4:

Ship Reports Bright Flash

 

Manila (AP) — A report of a mysterious flash of light in the sky increased suspicion Monday that the American chartered military transport plan [sic] which vanished five night [sic] 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 Liberian 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.

Sighted by Tanker

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 conditions.

The tanker T. L. Linzen said it sighted the bright lights 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 missing four-engined plane, whose passengers included 93 U.S. Rangers en route to South Viet Nam to help in the fight against Communist Viet Cong guerillas [sic], was en route from Guam to the Philippines.

Mattress Picked Up

A search ship was reported Monday to have picked up an air mattress in the general area of the Pacific where the airliner last radioed its position.

Reports from Guam said the minesweeper Gallant found the mattress while patrolling the ocean as part of the vast air-sea hunt for the constellation, missing since Thursday.

The Join Rescue Co-ordination Center at Guam said the mattress was 42 miles southeast of a position where the Liberian freighter reported sighting falling red lights.

Sabotage Seen As Possibility in Lost Plane Sunday, Nov 15 2009 

Transcribed from Ocala Star-Banner, Ocala, FL, March 19, 1962, p. 13:

Sabotage Seen as Possibility in Lost Plane

 

MANILA (AP) — A report of a mysterious flash of light in the sky increased suspicion today that the American chartered military 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 Liberian 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 conditions.

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.

2 State Soldiers On Lost Airliner Sunday, Nov 15 2009 

Transcribed from Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI, March 17, 1962, p. 4:

2 State Soldiers On Lost Airliner

 

Two Wisconsin soldiers were among the 107 persons aboard the Flying Tiger Super-Constellation airliner which vanished Thursday in the Pacific Ocean, the Defense Department said Friday.

They were identified as Sp. 4C Roger L. Oliver, husband of Mrs. Ramona K. Oliver of Victory (Vernon County), and Pvt. Jack C. Packard, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley L. Packard of Lodi (Columbia County).

A spokesman for Mrs. Oliver said her husband was 21 years old and had been in the Army about a year and a half. He was a native of Victory, where his parents still live.

Mrs. Packard said her son was 18 and had been in the Army since last July. He was a graduate of Lodi High School and has three brothers and a sister.

The plane was en route to Saigon, South Vietnam, where the 93 GI’s aboard were scheduled to relieve other American soldiers who have been helping train Vietnamese troops in the fight against Viet Cong guerrillas. The plane disappeared between Guam and the Philippines.

Others aboard were 11 American plane crew members and 3 South Vietnamese.

Ships and planes of the U.S. armed forces crisscrossed 15,000 square miles of ocean looking for a clue to the airliner’s fate.

Loss of all aboard would make it the third worst single-plane disaster in aviation history.

Army Secretary Stahr said in Washington a “maximum effort” was being made to locate the plane.

“We have not given up hope that it will be found and that those aboard are safe,” Stahr said.

Striking coincidences and unexplained circumstances in the flights of that airliner and another plane taking American military help to South Vietnam led the owner of the planes Friday to raise these possibilities:

- Sabotage of one or both planes.

- Possible kidnaping of the craft missing with 107 persons aboard, mostly trained American jungle troops.

But the Flying Tiger Line stressed in Burbank, Calif., it has no evidence of either possibility and they are strictly in the realm of wild guesses.

Coincidence was not ruled out.

The other plane, carrying secret military cargo, crashed and burned while landing in the Aleutians, killing one man.

Plane, 107 Sought Sunday, Nov 15 2009 

Transcribed from Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, FL, March 16, 1962, p. 1:

Plane, 107 Sought

93 Army Men to Viet Nam.

 

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 wartorn South Viet Nam.

A full 24 hours had passed since the four-engine Superconstellation, 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 Manilla.

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.

IN BURBANK, Calif., striking coincidences and unexpected circumstances in the ill-fated flights of two big planes taking American military help to south Viet Nam led the owner of the planes today to raise these possibilities:

1. Sabotage of one or both planes.

2. Possible kidnapping of the craft missing with 107 persons aboard.

But the Flying Tiger Line stressed it has no evidence of either possibility and they are strictly in the realm of wild guesses.

One plane, carrying secret military cargo, crashed and burned while landing in the Aleutians, killing one man. The other is missing out of Guam.

The identical four-engine 1049A Super Constellations both left Travis Air Force Base, Calif., at 9:45 Pacific Standard Time Wednesday. Both were bound for Saigon on flights for the Defense Department. Both mysteriously hit trouble a few hours later, though they’d taken different routes.

U.S. Plane Lost with 107 Sunday, Nov 15 2009 

Transcribed from the Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI, March 16, 1962, p 1:

U.S. Plane Lost with 107

Pacific Search Launched

 

MANILA, Philippines, March 16 (Friday) (AP) A charter airliner from California with 96 military passengers and crew of 11 aboard Friday was reported missing and presumably down in the Pacific.

The Super Constellation of Flying Tiger Airlines was lost on the Guam-to-Philippines leg of its transPacific flight from Northern California. The U.S. Air Force base at Clark Field was its Philippines destination. From there it was heaed for South Vietnam.

A U.S. Navy spokesman said the plane was believed to have gone down in an area nearer Guam than The Philippines. No storms were reported in the area and conditions — cloudless skies and calm seas — were ideal for searching planes and ships. Squadrons from Guam and Okinawa joined in the hunt.

Troops are ferried regularly to The Philippines via Guam, where the transport planes make refueling stops.

Air Force officials in California said only the Pentagon could release the names of the military personnel aboard the plane. Pentagon procedure calls for notification of next of kin before names of casualties are made public. Flying Tiger headquarters in California immediately identified the plane’s 11 crew members, all civilians from California.

The transport was last heard from an hour and 20 minutes after leaving Guam and the pilot at that time reported on course and on time.

The plane left Travis Air Force Base in northern California Tuesday.

The report of the plane’s plight came in a month already marked by two of the worst disasters in aviation history. An American Airlines Boeing 707 jet crashed March 1 at New York’s International Airport, killing all 95 aboard.

Three days later a chartered British airliner carrying 111 persons crashed near Douala in the West African republic of Cameroon and all were killed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.