Santa Monica Bay, CA Plane Lands In Pacific Ocean, Jan 1969
JET LANDS IN SEA, FLOATS; 30 OF 45 ABOARD SURVIVE.
Los Angeles (AP) -- A Scandanavian Airlines jet splashed into the rainswept Pacific Ocean while attempting a landing at International Airport Monday night -- and floated.
Of the 45 aboard, there were 30 known survivors and four known dead. SAS listed 11 as missing.
Santa Monica Hospital, near the airport, reported treating 24 persons and said all were in good condition.
As dawn broke over the Pacific, wreckage of the big DC8 still was floating -- almost 12 hours after it came down into two-foot swells eight miles off shore.
In a scene of pandemonium, passengers and crew members scrambled into rubber boats or atop the wings and fuselage. Some tumbled into the sea.
An armada of small boats -- Coast Guard cutters, life gurad craft, and a volunteer fleet of private yachts and motor boats -- conducted a search and rescue operation that lasted for hours.
Rescue boats plucked survivors from the waves or the plane, sped them ashore to ambulances that took them to the hospital.
During the night, divers determined that no bodies were inside the plane.
The jetliner, on a flight across the North Pole from Copenhagen via Seattle, Wash., hit the water with no warning, passengers said.
SAS said those killed included SUSANNE GOETHBERG, a hostess; JULES E. MARTINET, 55, of Inglewood, and GERHARD JORDAN, 38, of Los Angeles.
The fourth dead person was a woman between 30 and 35 years old, the coroner said.
Due at 6:05 p.m., the jetliner had circled in the airport landing pattern for some 90 minutes due to a bad weather stackup of planes, then began its approach. It vanished from the radar screen at 7:40.
Pilot KENNETH DAVIS, an Englishman living in Sweeden, said he made a "routine approach except for some difficulty with the landing gear."
He declined to give details, but commended his crew and passengers for "total heroic and disciplined action" in evacuating the plane and launching rubber boats.
The floating was "a miracle" to one Coast Guardsman. Another called it "kind of miraculous" the pilot "was able to keep the ship in one piece, landing in two-foot waves and darkness."
MATS HELLSTROM, 30, engineer from Vasteras, Sweeden, said passengers were told to fasten seat belts and "the next thing I knew we hit the water."
"People were screaming for help. I had trouble getting out of my seat belt but then I got through a rip in the fuselage and was in the water."
HELLSTROM said he grabbed a flotation belt and was in the water an hour before rescue -- with a broken leg and a cut lip.
OLEV ANDERSON, who said he was an off-duty Scandanavian Airlines System pilot from Copenhagen and on his honeymoon, was asleep when he felt what he thought was a "hard landing."
"I looked around and realized it was a little more. Seats were thrown all over the cabin. Water started to flood in."
"I was sitting right behind the emergency door over the wing. I opened it, put on a life preserver, and began hauling people out on the wing."