Steveston, BC Airliner Crashes In Straits, Apr 1947
TCA PLANE VANISHES OVER VANCOUVER.
FEAR CRAFT MANY HAVE PLUNGED INTO STRAITS.
LODESTAR WITH 15 ON BOARD ONLY THREE MINUTES FROM LANDING ON FLIGHT FROM LETHBRIDGE -- LARGE OIL SLICK DISCOVERED NEAR STEVESTON, B.C. -- LAND AND SEA RESCUE SQUADS RUSHED TO SCENE -- NO ALBERTANS LISTED ON CRAFT.
Vancouver, April 29 -- (C.P.) -- A large oil-slick, a quarter of a mile southwest of Steveston, B.C., at the mouth of the Fraser river in the Straits of Georgia, has been spotted by searchers for the missing Trans-Canada Air Lines plane which vanished last night with 15 persons aboard.
"We have spotted an oil slick southwest of Steveston," said GEO. WILLIAMSON, an executive of T.C.A.
It is a short distance from the Fraser river buoy, and extends over an area of one to two acres, searchers reported.
Land and sea rescue squads have been dispatched to the scene, ten miles south of the Sea Island airport.
The following were aboard the plane:
C. P. REAPER, 531 Grosevenor Ave., Westmount, Que.
H. WOLF, London, Eng.
V. ARMAND, Vancouver.
D. VANCE, 76 Guay Ave., St. Vital, Man.
W. ROBSON, 206 Kensington St., Winnipeg.
MISS JANE V. WARREN, Vancouver.
MISS MARGARET R. HAMBLIN, Vancouver.
L. MILLOR, Vancouver.
MR. and MRS. C. P. NUGENT, Winnipeg.
MISS N. LESIUKE, Trail, B.C.
MISS MARGARET TRERISE, Vancouver.
Captain W. G. PIKE, Vancouver and Toronto.
First Officer A. A. STEWART, Vancouver.
Stewardess MISS H. M. SAISBURY, New Westminster, B.C.
Oil From Boats?
If the oil slick marks the death plunge scene of the big plane carrying 12 passengers and a crew of three, the crash may have occurred within minutes of the last report received at the control tower at 11:13 p.m. P.D.T. last night.
There was a possibility, however, that the oil may have been dumped by fish boats. Steveston is a former Japanese fishing village, and the home port of many fishermen.
Heard Over Island?
Earlier reports indicated the plane had flown over Vancouver Island districts, many residents, awakened from their sleep, hearing a "peculiar noise" from the engines, first loud and then fading, "almost coming to a halt."
Others reported hearing a sound like "thunder" off the coast close to the island mining city of Nanaimo.
It is approximately 60 miles across the straits from Steveston to Nanaimo.
"There is little we can say at this time," said WILLIAM S. FOWLER, assistant general manager, T.C.A., Winnipeg, shortly after his arrival here by special plane from the east.
He was accompanied by E. W. STULL, operations manager, western region, Lethbridge, and HERBERT SEAGRIM, director of flight operations, Winnipeg.
First searchers to return from the sea and land hunt earlier reported "nothing sighted."
Makes Wide Sweep.
An R.C.A.F. air-sea rescue plane landed at Sea Island airport here shortly before 11 a.m., after a wide sweep of the Straits of Georgia, and a flight over heavily-wooded country inland from Nanaimo, where a plane was heard early today, followed by a "crack like thunder."
It was feared the big aircraft had taken a death-plunge into the island-dotted sea, a short distance from the rocky coastline, or crashed in the woods among heavy forest growth where it would be difficult to locate from the air.
The greatest air-sea rescue search in Canadian flying history was underway with 19 planes in the search, while the United States coast guard was co-operating, concentrating on the San Juan Islands area.
Aboard the plane was H. WOLF, a china merchant from London, England, and a descendant of General WOLF, revisiting the country of his ancestor. He planned a visit to Vancouver before returning east for a trip to the Plains of Abraham.
Other passengers included VICTOR ARMAND of Vancouver, departmental superintendent for Famous Players Corporation, who moved his office here from Winnipeg, and a honeymoon couple, MR. and MRS. P. C. NUGENT, married in Winnipeg Saturday night.
Two other passengers were MISS JANE V. WARREN and MISS MARGARET R. HAMBLIN, student nurses at Vancouver General Hospital, returning after their annual vacations. They were to have reported for duty this morning.
MISS WARREN, 21, is the daughter of MR. and MRS. J. H. WARREN of Weyburn, Sask. MISS HAMBLIN is the 22 year old daughter of MR. and MRS. J. F. HAMBLIN of Qu-Appelle, Sask.
MISS HELEN SAISBURY, the plane's 24 year old stewardess, is the daughter of MR. and MRS. L. J. SAISBURY of suburban Burnaby. Born in Edmonton, she attended school in Edmonton, Lethbridge and Wainwright, Alta., before her parents moved to the coast 10 years ago.
LANCE MILLOR, 47, has his family in Vancouver. But he maintained an office in Calgary, as representative of an acro equipment company.
No Trouble Indicated.
There was no indication of trouble in the last message received from the plane.
"It was a routine check," said KENNETH ST. JOHN, control tower operator. "The pilot's voice was clear, his tone was normal."
Reports from Nanaimo told of a "clap like thunder" early today after a plane was heard off the coast.
"I heard a sound like thunder," said MRS. A. NEWBERRY, a Nanaimo resident. "Then there was silence."
Other residents reported hearing the plane, just off the coast.
BOB STEWART, president of the Nanaimo Free Press, heard it at 12:15 a.m.
"It was flying low, and its engines were making a peculiar noise. They were loud, and then they faded."
The Lethbridge Herald Alberta 1947-04-29
(Transcriber's Note: The wreckage of this aircraft was finally discovered in September of 1994, just west of Mount Elsay.)