Pacific Ocean, HI, CA Airliner Goes Down In Ocean, Nov 1957

A Pan Am Stratocruiser identical to Flight 7.



San Francisco -- UP -- Pan American Airways reported today yellow objects "believed to be life rafts" were seen in the ocean near the last known location of the missing Pan American plane. The report came from the coast guard in Honolulu, PAA said.
An air force pilot radioed the location as 28 degrees 11 minutes north latitude, 142 degrees 45 minutes west longitude. The report did not say whether survivors were sighted.
A coast guard cutter was sent to the spot and should arrive about 12:45 PM PST, PAA said.

San Francisco -- UP -- A double decked Pan American Airways plane with 44 persons aboard is "presumed down" in the Pacific between Honolulu and San Francisco. A massive air-sea search is under way.
JACK E. KING, 42, a former Fresnan, was aboard. He is a flight supervisor for the airline and lives in South San Francisco.
The huge four engine plane was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu from San Francisco at 7:45 PM HST (9:45 PM PST), but early today in San Francisco, ROBERT B. MURRAY, JR., executive vice president of Pan American's Pacific-Alaska division, said:
"We now are past the gasoline endurance point, and the aircraft must be presumed down somewhere in the Pacific. The crew is experienced and well trained and we still are hopeful."

Large Families Aboard.
The plane, piloted by Captain GORDON H. BROWN, of Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, carried eight crewmen and 36 passengers, including two large families -- HUGH, SCOTT, NANCY, KIMI, BRUCE and ANNA CLACK of Midland, Mich., and ROBERT, DAVID, MARGARET and JUDY ALEXANDER of Los Gatos, Santa Clara County.
Coast Guard Rear Admiral STEPHEN H. EVANS, who is coordinating the search effort, said "time ran out" after the plane had been missing some 14 hours.
He immediately launched a massive air and sea search covering a 100,000 square mile area between Honolulu and 1,100 miles to the east toward San Francisco.
Coast guard, navy and air force planes from Hawaii were pressed into the search, and Pan American sent planes from both Honolulu and San Francisco. Two submarines and eight coast guard cutters were dispatched to the area and all surface vessels in the vicinity, were alerted.

Spotted Lights.
The navy search rescue center at Pearl Harbor confirmed a report that a military air transport plane spotted blinking lights on the air route the missing plane would have taken, but search planes found nothing in the area.
The last report from the plane came at 3:04 PM HST when the captain radioed he had passed the point of no return, 1,160 miles from Honolulu.
This is near the area where on October 16, 1956, another Pan American plane developed trouble and ditched at sea. All 31 passengers aboard were saved when pilot RICHARD OGG circled four hours on two engines to reduce the fuel load and then ditched near a coast guard weather ship.

Although the tail broke off on the impact, everyone board scrambled into lifeboats and were picked up within minutes by the crew of the coast guard ship.



Boeing 377

Unlike it's military sister the KC-97, the 377 had many reliability issues. Of the 50 built, ten were lost in accidents, giving it a 20% mortality rate. The last intact survivor I saw( which was reportedly scrapped later) was in 1987 in a storage area at Tucson (Arizona) International Airport. So sad--people would have loved to see a piece of history like that flying in air shows.
A picture of this plane does exist, along side a 1952 Buick, taken that year which I have seen from time to time in propliner related magazines.