Cold Bay, AK Canadian Airliner Hits Tidal Flat, Aug 1956



Kodiak, Aug. 30 (AP) -- A big Canadian airliner with 22 aboard caught fire over the North Pacific last night and came down on a bleak Alaskan tidal flat in a crash that left 15 persons dead or missing. Some of the seven survivors were injured critically.
The U. S. naval station here reported there were 12 dead and three missing today after hours of search and rescue operations, hampered by rising tide on the beach at the tip of the Alaska peninsula.
The pilot of the Canadian Pacific Airlines DC6B, bound for Tokyo from Vancouver, B. C., radioed Cold Bay, Alaska, that his plane was afire but did not give the cause. This was just before it went down at 9:48 p.m. Kodiak time, 2 1/2 miles southwest of Cold Bay.
Made One Pass.
The plane was reported to have made one pass over the field and was making another approach when it crashed short of the runway.
The Navy flew a doctor and medical supplies to Cold Bay, a tiny settlement 500 miles southwest of Kodiak. Plans were made to fly survivors to Anchorage.
CPA's Vancouver office reported the pilot, Capt. THORNTON A. TWEED, 33, of Burnaby, B. C., three other crew members and three passengers were the survivors.
22 Passengers.
The plane carried eight crew members and 14 passengers. Among the latter were 10 Orientals.
CPA's Vancouver, B. C. office listed these crew members as dead or missing:
First Officer PHILIP D. IVERSON, 37.
Navigator WILLIAM R. HUNTER, 32.
Stewardess EVELYN LEE, 26.
Stewardess ANITA WONG, 26.
All from Vancouver.
Names of others dead or missing had not been announced hours after the crash.
Surviving passengers included SHARON EDELSTEIN, 16, and her sister, PATRICIA, 7, daughters of TED EDELSTEIN, CPA manager at Hong Kong.
At Tokyo the Foreign Mission Society reported two Canadian Catholic priests had cabled they were returning to Japan on the plane that crashed -- CPA's flight 307. They were Father JAMES McINTOSH, St. Andrew, Nova Scotia, and Father VINCENT McGOUGH, Toronto.
The Civil Aeronautics Board in Washington, D. C., announced it was sending a four-man team of investigators and that Canadian officials were joining in the inquiry. The crash was the airline's first since May 12, 1953.
Half Capacity Load.
The plane was carrying less than half of its capacity load of 52 passengers when it left Vancouver at 5:30 p.m. PDT. The flight to Cold Bay normally takes seven hours.
When the plane went down at 9:48 p.m. Kodiak time (12.48 a.m. PDT) U. S. rescue units sent out two amphibian planes -- one from Kodiak and one from Adak -- and two ships -- the coast guard cutter Winona and the freighter Tom Bigbee, to search for the missing persons. The hunt was hampered by extremely bad weather. Each of the planes carried a doctor and medical supplies.
The injured persons rescued were to be flown to Elmendorf field near Anchorage.
Girls Escape Injury.
Cmdr. CLARK said at least four of them were so badly injured they could not be moved without a doctor's aid.
The EDELSTEIN girls, who escaped injury, were driven to the airport here by their mother. She came to Canada about six weeks ago with the girls and another daughter, VERONA, 14. MRS. EDELSTEIN is visiting here and VERONA is staying with her grandparents, MR. and MRS. G. E. EDELSTEIN in Regina.
EDELSTEIN was transferred from Calgary to Hong Kong two years ago. His wife said the girls were on their way back to school in Hong Kong had don "a lot of flying."

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Alaska 1956-08-30



Vancouver, B. C., Aug. 31 (AP) -- Six of seven survivors of a Tokyo-bound Canadian Pacific airliner crash-landing on a bleak and remote Alaska Peninsula beach arrived here early today, and the pilot who returned them said a freak parting of the fuselage and wings probably saved their lives.
Fifteen of the 22 aboard perished in the Wednesday night crackup at Cold Bay, where the Alaska peninsula ends and the Aleutian Island chain begins.
BILL ROXBOROUGH, assistant chief pilot for the airline, said that at the moment of impact on the beach, 2 1/2 miles from the airstrip the plane was trying to reach, the body broke from the wings and slithered ahead.
Main Tanks Afire.
He said the main gas tanks in the wings apparently burst into flame immediately.
"If the plane had landed all in one piece," he said, "there is little doubt that all aboard would have perished."
ROXBOROUGH said he learned nothing at Cold Bay to substantiate the original report that one or more of the big plane's engines were afire before the crash-landing.
The executive officer of the U. S. Navy air station at Kodiak reported yesterday that the plane's pilot had radioed Cold Bay just before the crash that the plane was afire.
500 Foot Ceiling.
ROXBOROUGH said, however, that engine failure at the moment of the runway approach turn could have been the main cause of the disaster.
A 500-foot ceiling was reported at the time and the plane was making an instrument approach to the refueling base.
"It would appear that something happened just as TWEED (Capt. THORNTON TWEED, the pilot) was making his approach turn from the north that caused his aircraft to suddenly lose altitude and crash."
The bodies of 13 of the other 15 persons who were aboard landed the big BC-6 when it crash landed on a flight from Vancouber to Tokyo were aboard another plane scheduled to arrive here later in the day.
Two of the 22 persons who were aboard the ill-fated plane still were missing.
Arriving here amid the glare of television lights and milling relatives and newsmen were:
SHARON, 16, and PATRICIA EDELSTEIN, 8, of Hong Kong, the daughters of CPA's manager there, TED EDELSTEIN.
CHOW SING YORK, 25, of Vancouver.
DOLORES JORDAN, 25, a stewardess, of Calgary, Alta.
ROBERT LOVE, 28, of Victoria, B. C., second officer of the crashed plane.
ROBERT SHORT, Vancouver, the navigator.
Stretchers Used.
SHORT and LOVE were taken from the plane on stretchers and rushed to a Vancouver hospital. MISS JORDAN walked from the plane and was taken to a hospital. The others were uninjured.
Newsmen were not permitted to question the six on details of the crash.
Still missing in the crash were MRS. MARGAREAT LEM, Toronto, Ont., and her daughter, JUDY, 8 months. Searchers believed their bodies would be found in the wreckage of the plane or in the frigid waters of the tidelands around the emergency landing strip at Cold Bay, 500 miles southwest of Kodiak.
Rescuers who went to the crash scene from Kodiak said wreckage of the plane was scattered along the Cold Bay beach for a quarter of a mile. It was described as a beach which is covered with 4 to 5 feet of water at high tide.
Capt. THORNTON A. TWEED, the 32-year-old pilot of the ill-fated plane, was taken to a hospital at Kodiak. He was reported to have a skull fracture. DR. NEIL STEWART, who flew to the crash scene, said TWEED'S condition was serious.
DR. STEWART also said LOVE, the second officer, had serious internal injuries.
Despite her own back injury, MISS JORDAN, the stewardess, led the two EDELSTEIN girls to safety from the plane on the bleak northern beach, aides on the mercy flight from the north reported. Both children had been sitting in the rear of the plane.
The two girls were described by a stewardess on the 1,700 mile flight to Vancouver as being cheerful "beyond all expectancy." They had a happy reunion with their mother here.
DR. STEWART said none of the dead passengers were burned.
Stewardess RAYMONDE OUELETTE of Vancouver, who flew back with the survivors, said they told her some of the crew and passengers were thrown clear; others crawled from the wreckage.
"DOLORES (stewardess JORDAN) looked out and saw some of them were in the mud and water, so she grabbed up life jackets and put them out of the plane," she said.
They got out through an emergency exit.
Center of Plane.
CHOW SING YORK, the only other passenger to survive, was in the tourist section in the center of the plane.
The group of seven survivors included four crew members and the three passengers.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Alaska 1956-08-31