Transcribed from the Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, NH, October 5, 1960, p. 1:
Eastern Airlines Electra Crashes In Harbor, Killing 61 And Injuring 11
Boston, Oct 5 (AP)– An Eastern Airlines four-engine Electra transport plunged into Boston harbor on takeoff Tuesday, killing 61 of the 72 aboard. All of the 11 known survivors were injured seriously.
A MYSTERIOUS “secret document” figured in the crash. State Police Capt Carl Larsen, in charge of rescue operations, said a member of the Air Force Office of Special Investigation told him it was aboard at takeoff but later missing. Larsen said the FBI started a search.
The crash, one of a series of mishaps involving the turboprop Electra and the second in less than three weeks, brought urgent demands for investigation.
AS THE CIVIL Aeronautics Board ordered seven investigators to the scene, Rep Steven B. Derounian, R-NY, called for a congressional inquiry. Rep Vance Hartke, D-Ind, calling for corrective action by the Federal Aviation Agency, said “structural deficiencies found in this airplane have not been corrected.”
But Gen. E. R. Quesada, federal aviation administrator, said sketchy information available did not show any relation between Tuesday’s crash and previous accidents involving Electras.
THE PLANE TOOK off from Logan International Airport at 5:45 pm bound for Philadelphia, Charlotte, NC, Greenville, SC, and Atlanta. It came down about 200 yards offshore.
Among the 67 passengers were 15 Marine Corps recruits en route to Parris Island, SC. Ten of them were among the known dead. At least three others were injured.
“THE THING WAS split wide open,” said Lt Cmdr Everett Cook, USNR, who saw the plane after it nosed into the water off the Winthrop Yacht Club.
“WHen I got there part of the plane was still afloat,” said Cmdr Donald Regan, US NR, one of the first to reach the scene. “A good many of the passengers were strapped to their seats adn could not get out. The seats were floating. I noticed that their weight was pulling them over so that their heads were in the water.
“THEY WERE ALL a mess–blood, broken legs, split skulls and everything else.”
Eastern Airlines at Miami at first said the Pilot, Capt C. W. Fitts, and copilot M. J. Calloway, survived. But later the airline could not confirm this and they could not be located in any hospital.
FORMER US Navy Frogman James J. Cahill of Danvers led the estimated 200 skindivers in the heroic recue operations. They had the grim task of pulling body after body from the wreckage.
The divers found the wheels of the airliner in the murky mud some 50 feet from the spot where the red and white tail section of the huge craft was pulled above water by Navy Tug 542.
COAST GUARD craft worked through the night bringing in bodies.
One Coast Guard craft commanded by Boatswain’s Mate Richard Hagert brought in 10 bodies. Most of these victims were found strapped to their seats, safety belts still intact.
Two victims were found side by side in their seats. The pained expression on their faces told of their vain struggle to free themselves.
THE BODY OF Flight Engineer Malcolm M. Hall of Memphis, Tenn, was recovered.
Two stewardesses survived, identified by the airline as Joan Berry, 22, of Prentice, Miss, and Pactricia Davies of Jacksonville, Fla.
“IT HAPPENED so fast there was no time to think. We were up in the air–then suddenly we hit the water. I remember calling for the pilot and copilot. There was no answer,” Miss Berry said.
“I opened the rear door and pushed myself out. The pain from my broken leg was so severe I passed out.”
HUNDREDS JOINED in the rescue efforts–police, firemen, owners of small boats, skin divers, pilots of Coast Guard helicopters and boats and Navy ships. Men waded knee deep through oil-smeared muck of the mud flats to bring back bodies.
Late at night, in the light of the full moon, skin divers tried repeatedly to attach lines to the wreckage in 20 feet of water.