Transcribed from The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, FL, March 5, 1966, p. 1:

Jet Crashes Into Mt. Fuji; All 124 Dead

 

TOKYO (AP) — A British Overseas Airways Corp. Boeing 707 jetliner slammed into the slopes below Mt. Fuji today and Japanese officials said all 124 persons were killed. There were indications of a collision in the air.

Eighty-one Americans were reported on the plane.

Reliable military sources, who declined to be named, said they understood a Japanese military plane had collided with the British craft. Japanese defense forces said they had no report of a collision.

Eyewitnesses said the plane was aflame before it crashed. The weather was good.

Police at Gotemba, near Mt. Fuji, about 70 miles south of Tokyo declined to comment on the collision report and said the crash was now under formal investigation.

It was the second jetliner crash in Japan in less than 24 hours and the third in the past month. If no survivors are found in today’s crash, the combined death toll would be 321.

Sixty-four of the 72 persons aboard a Canadian Pacific Airlines DC8 were killed yesterday when the plane crashed and burned after it snagged on the approach lights at Tokyo’s International Airport and hit a concrete retaining wall.

The crash of a Japanese Boeing 727 jet into Tokyo Bay a month ago was the world’s worst single air disaster. It claimed 133 lives. A helicopter searching for some of the bodies that are still missing crashed today, killing two.

A Tokyo travel agency said most of the Americans aboard the British plane were dealers of the Thermo King Corp. of Minneapolis, who were on a tour with their wives.

Floridians aboard the plane were Mr. and Mrs. Harold Carter of Orlando, Mr. and Mrs. James Walker of Miami and Mr. and Mrs. William C. Weaver of Miami.

The big jetliner arrived in Japan from San Francisco yesterday but was diverted some 600 miles south of Tokyo because of heavy fog. The plane and passengers spent the night at the U.S. Itzuke military base and then flew into Tokyo today under cloudless skies.

Airline officials said 106 of the 119 passengers boarded the flight in Tokyo while the others came from San Francisco. Ninety-six were bound for Hong Kong, eight for Rangoon, Burma, one for Karachi, Pakistan, and one for London.

The plane took off from Tokyo at 1:58 p.m. (11:58 p.m. EST). Police at Gotemba said it crashed about 2:10 p.m. (12:10 a.m. EST).

For more than two hours airline officials in Tokyo refused to confirm that one of their planes had crashed but finally announced the crash of Flight 911 at a news conference. They said an investigation team was en route to the scene.

At least 119 bodies were recovered from the wreckage which was strewn in smoking heaps for several miles, authorities said.

Witnesses at the crash site said the bulk of the plane was lying in a crumpled mass. The fuselage, split down the middle, came to rest on top of the smoking wreckage. More pieces, which appeared to be part of the fuselage or a wing, lay scattered beyond.

A sentry at a U.S. Marine camp at Gotemba said he saw flames coming from the plane as it passed above him. Seconds later it plunged to earth, he said.

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