Oakland, CA Airplane Crash, Apr 1953

Frisco Bay Dive Of Plane Kills 8

Two Rescued After Plunge

OAKLAND, Calif. (UP) – Eight persons were killed when a Western Airlines DC-6B plunged into San Francisco Bay Monday night – only minutes after 30 other persons got off the plane.

A Navy rescue boat found two survivors bobbing in the bay waters.

The plane, en route from Los Angeles to Seattle, was on a seven-minute, cross-bay hop from San Francisco to Oakland to take aboard more passengers when the unexplained crash occurred.
The crash was witnessed from the Oakland tower at 2:08 a. m., EST.

The two survivors were plucked from the water and rushed to Alameda Naval Air station where they were transferred to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital.

They were senior stewardess BEVERLY NELSON, 27, of San Jose, Calif., and St. Clair Shores, Mich., and passenger JERRY ADAMS, 21, of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Four bodies were recovered by the Navy and Coast Guard, but only one was immediately identified.
The other four victims were still missing at 3 a. m. and searching Coast Guardsmen said they believed the missing four were still trapped in the submerged wreckage.

Only witness to the crash was CAA traffic controller Robert O'Neil, who was on duty in the Oakland Airport tower. He said he was tracking the incoming plane on a newly installed radar set in the tower when the image “just disappeared.”

“I looked out the window and I saw a terrific explosion on the bay,” he said. “It was immediately followed by a bright gasoline fire which looked like it spread over a quarter of a mile of the bay. It lasted very briefly and went out withing 10 or 15 seconds.”

O'Neil said he was talking to the pilot just two minutes before the crash and said the plane captain gave no hint that he was in trouble.

Charleston Daily Mail West Virginia 1953-04-21