Everglades, FL Air Liner Crashes, Feb 1963
AIR CRASH KILLS 43; PLANE REMAINS STUDIED.
AIRLIFT OF BODIES IS DELAYED BY INVESTIGATION.
Miami, Fla. (AP) -- Charred remains of a jet airliner, which crashed deep in the Florida Everglades with 43 persons aboard, were studied today by federal investigators seeking a cause for the tragedy. There were no survivors.
Civil Aeronautics Board and FBI agents worked behind tight security measures, trying to learn why the Northwest Orient Airlines jet plummeted out of the sky Tuesday only minutes after leaving Miami for Chicago, Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore.
A planned helicopter airlift of bodies from the smoldering wreckage was delayed by the investigation.
John McWhorter of Miami, in charge of CAB operations at the search base, said the first bodies might not arrive until after noon.
Seminole Indian children were given a holiday as their school house, 50 miles west of Miami, at a place called Miccosukee, became a temporary morgue. The school also served as a CAB communications base.
The two-room, white frame school stands on concrete stilts because it borders on swampland. Park rangers, Florida Highway patrolmen and the FBI guarded the crash site area, at the edge of the Everglades National Park.
The wreckage was 14 miles south of the operations base, across a swamp choked with thick undergrowth that only swamp buggies and weasel vehicles could penetrate.
The flight recorder box, a compact set of instruments that might provide a clue to the crash, was taken from the wreckage and flown by Coast Guard helicopter to the operations base.
The recorder, a steel cylinder designed to withstand extreme pressure and heat, records on metallic tape an aircraft's direction, air speed, altitude and acceleration.
This morning as investigators looked for other pieces of the plane and passenger belongings, a cold north wind whispered across the damp, isolated swampland.
A team from the U.S. Fish and Game Commission reached the wreckage about midnight and radioed that it found the plane burning.
Miami FBI Agent Wesley Grapp conferred at the operations base with the CAB team. Grapp said his office usually cooperates with aviation officials in investigating such disasters.
The craft lost radio contact with Miami International Airport traffic control seven minutes after it took off in a rain squall at 1:35 p.m. Six and one-half hours elapsed before the fireswept wreck was sighted, 43 miles southwest of Miami, in a search that covered the southeast.
Coast Guardsmen, who spotted the Boeing 720B from a helicopter landed and found no indication that any of the 35 passengers and 8 crew members had survived.
"It lay smack in the middle of a swamp. The fuselage was all busted up and consumed by fire," the 'copter crew said.
It was not determined what knocked the plane out of the sky only minutes after it flew into squally weather that lashed Florida throughout the day. Glades fishermen said they saw a fire ball in the sky.
Civil Aeronautics Board investigators and military personnel headed into the swampy wilderness by helicopter and a caravan of tractor-like vehicles. The area was closed to all but official groups. The crash scene is nine miles from the nearest road.
The field team of investigators included CAB men, headed by Charles Collar of Miami; five FBI agents, and medical personnel flown to south Florida from the Armed Forces Pathology Institute to examine and identify bodies.
Coast Guard Lt. Cmdrs. James Dillon and W. C. Wallace who spied the wreck near darkness landed gingerly on boggy ground and explored the scene.
"All around us were little pieces of wreckage and a lot of luggage," Dillon said. "Wallace said it looked as if all the bodies were intact. All he had was a flashlight and he couldn't see too much."
Planes of the Air Force, Coast Guard and Civil Air Patrol began the hunt half an hour after the ground radio contact with the jetliner suddenly broke off at 1:42 p.m. that was only seven minutes after airliner CAPT. ROY W. ALMQUIST of Rosemount, Minn., lifted his craft from Miami International Airport.
The search was intensified in the Everglades west of Miami when sport fishermen scattered through the area began reporting they saw fire in the sky.
One of the first reports came from GORDON SWANN of Naples, who was fishing in Everglades National Park.
"Suddenly there was a ball of fire within a cloud, and a rain of fire descended all the way to the run of mangrove trees on our horizon," SWANN said. He got word to a park ranger who relayed it to Coast Guard search headquarters.
THe plane at first was listed only as out of radio contact.
FAA men said there was nothing in the ground-air conversation to indicate trouble. The pilot had just asked for clearance to climb to 25,000 feet -- then nothing more came from him.
Among the passengers were four members of an Illinois family of five which usually vacations together. Those aboard were MR. and MRS. WALTER ORZULA OFCICERO, their daughter, JERILYN, 20 and son, WALTER, JR., 18. Another daughter, JOYCE, was with her husband at Fort Riley, Kan.
Stewardess CONNIE BLANK expected to change planes in Chicago and fly on another jet to Spokane, Wash., for a brief visit with her mother, INEZ BLANK. She had planned to wed in Spokane in August.
Another listed aboard was JOSEPH E. CAIN, board chairman of Mallory Co., Indianapolis electronics manufacturer and reported owner of $1 million worth of his firm's stock.
Discovery of the broken wreck in the Everglades confirmed the worst fears of passengers' friends and relatives who had waited at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport for the plane -- first 15 minutes late in takeoff, then listed as unreported, then as overdue.
GRIEF STALKS WAITING KIN.
Chicago (AP) -- Anxiety gave way to grief Tuesday night as relatives and friends waiting for their loved ones to return to Chicago on a jet airliner from Miami learned it crashed in south Florida's Everglades wilderness.
A small group had gathered at O'Hare International Airport to greet returning vacationers and others due on Northwest Orient Airlines nonstop jet Flight 705, due at 3:05 p.m.
The last column of white letters on a brown board, in which estimated time of arrival is posted, remained blank. Anxious minutes became hours.
Word came in early evening that the wreckage of the plane had been spotted in the Everglades 43 miles from Miami. The Coast Guard reported the 35 passengers and 8 crew members apparently were killed.
The airline provided a police-guarded private room for those waiting. They sat anxiously, mostly in silence. When the tragic news arrived, a thin wail of an unidentified woman's voice was heard: "she loved life so much."
SHIRLEY LINN of suburban Lincolnwood, who was waiting for her mother, FANNY LEBEDOW, 63, of Chicago, sobbed.
"She was afraid -- that's what's so horrible," she said.
MRS. LINN waited with her sons, EDWARD, 13, and LARRY, 9, and her brother AARON LEBEDOW. Also with them were MRS. LINN'S sister, MIRIAM CHAPLIK, with two of their children, ELYANNE, 17, and IVY, 4.
A uniformed chauffeur for a livery service said that he had been instructed to pick up two passengers on the plane whom he knew only as MR. and MRS. RAND of Kenilworth, a Chicago suburb.
A. B. RAND, an executive of Barnes-Crosby, a Chicago engraving firm, father of three grown daughters, had been spending the winter in Florida with his wife. However, MRS. RAND was not aboard the plane.
ANTON SMIGIEL and JOE SRODULSID taking caution to travel separately from their wives arrived aboard a Delta Air Lines plane, expecting to be greeted by the women who were due a few minutes earlier on the Northwest flight.
They were met only by the SMIGIELS' daughter, JUDY, 21, and her friend, ED KENNEY, 21.
SMIGIEL is a police magistrate and president of the Bank of Niles a Chicago suburb. SRODULSKI, of suburban Park Ridge, and SMIGIEL had gone to the Miami airport only a few hours earlier with their wives, SALLY SMIGIEL and ROSE SRODULSKI.
WILLIAM MALAHN, 30, of Crystal Lake, Ill., waited alone in the lobby for his parents, MR. and MRS. ARNOLD MELAHN of Cary, Ill., due back from a Florida vacation. He said his father, 54, a contractor, and his mother, BEULAH, 52, had been going to Florida every year for about 20 years.
Four members of one family were on the plane. MR. and MRS. WALTER ORZULA of suburban Cicero and their daughter JERYLIN, 20, and son, WALTER, JR., 18 had been vacationing since Feb. 2. Another daughter, JOYCE, was with her husband at Fort Riley, Kan., this year.
The granddaughter of EDWIN NORTH, president of National Lock Co., Rockford, Ill., also was aboard the plane. The girl, CHRISTINE REVER, 15, of Rockford was traveling with three young companions from Rockford.
Just 10 years ago today, NORTH'S daughter, MARILYN, 21 and her fiance, ROBERT G. BARNES, 22, of Rockford died in the crash of a National Airlines plane en route from Tampa to New Orleans.
JOHN C. HEIL of Seattle was returning home after attending a convention. His wife returned home alone Monday night because the conventioin lasted longer than expected.
NEWSMAN GIVES ON-THE-SCENE DESCRIPTION.
By Miller Davis -- Miami News Reporter.
Miami (AP) -- The wreckage was still smouldering there in the sawgrass of the Everglades.
The cabin of the once sleek airliner jutted like a black, twisted gnome against the midnight sky.
One engine lay in the weeds nearly a city block away, and beside it was a metal food hamper with its lid gaping open. We found a thong slipper flopped on its side.
I believe I was alone for a moment -- the Civil Aeronautics Board men had gone on ahead -- when in the wet grass I saw a little plastic bag. It had one of those funny little pictures of a smiling Florida sun painted on its side.
A toy soldier fell out and then a sponge shaped like a baby monkey, and I didn't look anymore.
Three small fires still blazed around the wreckage and glinted off the shiny plastic bag.
I suppose the rest of my life I will see that plaid zipper suitcase with its neatly pressed skirts and blouses seared by the fire and soiled with the wetness of the night dew.
The pilot of our helicopter turned his heel and walked away. "Pray God it happened fast," he said.
To see the scene in your mind's eye, pretend you're looking at a peaceful field of wheat, and then someone comes along and throws a junkyard of steel in its center, and then douses it with gasoline and lights a match.
We trudged silently behind the CAB men and suddenly one of them pointed his finger to a dark blue lump.
"That must be a stewardess' handbag," he said,
"or is it?"
LIST OF CREW, PASSENGERS ABOARD JET.
Minneapolis (UPI) -- Northwest Airlines Tuesday released the names of the eight crew members and 35 passengers aboard the missing Boeing 720 jet which crashed in Florida.
Capt. ROY W. ALMQUIST, 47, Rosemont, Minn., a St. Paul suburb, pilot.
First Officer ROBERT J. FELLER, 38, 5941 Walnut Dr., Minneapolis.
Second Officer ALLEN R. FRIESEN, 29, Hopkins, Minn.
Stewardess WENDY ENGEBRETSON, 22, of 6400 Cedar Ave. So., Minneapolis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. Forsyth, Bismarck, N.D.
Stewardess CONNIE RAE BLANK, 21, of 3114 E. 58th St., Minneapolis, the daughter of Mrs. Inez Blank, Spokane, Wash.
Stewardess MYRNA A. EWERT, 25, of 6821 Portland Ave. So., Minneapolis, daughter of Paul Ewert, Bensenville, Ill.
Stewardess VIRGINIA LEE YOUNKIN, 25, of 2109 W. 77th St., Minneapolis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gavin S. Younkin, 4901 Maple Rd., Minneapolis.
Stewardess MARY S. SANDELL, 20, of 4724 Colvax Ave. So., Minneapolis.
MR. H. BALDWIN, 5 Grandwood Ave., S.W., Tacoma, Wash.
MR. J. E. CAIN, 5775 Sunset Lane, Indianapolis, Ind.
MR. W. L. CHRISTIANSON, 2820 40th Ave. S., Minneapolis.
MRS. W. L. CHRISTIANSON, same address.
MR. R. DIAZ, a Cuban regugee bound for Chicago.
MR. DAN GALLER, 3800 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago.
MR. T. GOODWIN, 2725 Richards Dr., Grand Rapids, Mich.
MRS. T. GOODWIN, same address.
MR. J. C. HEIL, 1602 N. 47th St., Seattle, Wash.
MR. JACK HOLLERICH, La Salle, Ill.
MR. W. R. IRWIN, Omaha, Neb.
MR. M. D. KELINSON, 3645 Southeast Glenwood, Portland, Ore.
MRS. M. D. KELINSON, same address.
MRS. FANNY LEBODOW, 6557 N. St. Louis St., Lincolnwood, Ill.
MR. A. MELAHN, Bluff Dr., Cary, Ill.
MRS. A. MELAHN, same address.
FRED OLSON, III, 909 Rockwood Ave., Rockford, Ill.
JOAN OLSON, 15, his sister, same address.
MR. WALTER ORSZULE, Berwyn, Ill.
MRS. ORSZULE, his wife, same address.
WALTER ORSZULE, JR., 18, a son.
JERILYN ORSZULE, 20, 3601 S. 59th Ct., Cicero, Ill., a daughter.
A. B. RAND, 112 Oxford Rd., Kennilworth, Ill.
CHRISTINE REVER, Hickory Lawn Dr., Rockford, Ill.
SUSAN SCHWENDENER, 512 James Ave., Rockford, Ill.
MRS. ANTON SMIGIEL, 7005 Harlem, Niles, Ill.
MRS. JOSEPH SRODULSKI, 1425 Touhy Ave., Park Ridge, Ill.
MR. E. W. TENGERSTRON, 3737 N. Panama, Chicago.
MRS. E. W. TENGERSTRON, 3851 N. Ottawa, Chicago, MR. TENGERSTRON'S niece.
DR. H. E. WELLS, 1230 E. 63rd St., Chicago.
MR. JOSEPH WUBBOLD, Chicago bound, no address.
The remaining were identified as non-revenue passengers, presumably airline employes:
GEORGE A. ENLOE, 2132 N. 128th St., Seattle, Wash.
FRED NIMSCH, Caracas, Venezuela, sales manager for Ransa Airlines, Miami.
MR. GILMORE RHEA, Deerfield, Ill., bound for Chicago.
MRS. GILMORE RHEA, Deerfield, Ill., bound for Chicago. MRS. RHEA worked for the Military Air Transport Service at Great Lakes Training station.
Panama City Herald Florida 1963-02-13