Santa Monica Bay, CA Plane Lands In Pacific Ocean, Jan 1969
"Some children were screaming, but there really wasn't any panic. The rescue operation was very efficient."
"We got into a life raft but it had a hole and sank. We all jumped into the water and swam to a second raft."
Los Angeles fireman ED SUPPLE, 51, returning with his wife from a vacation, said: "We thought we were going to land then all of a sudden, there we were, water in your face and we didn't know why. All of a sudden everything came down on us."
"Somebody got us a life raft and we tried to get in but it sank. Then we got in another one. There was terror all around. No one knew what to do."
The first arrivals in small boats described the scene as one of chaos.
Helicopters, the first arrivals, hovered overhead -- dropping rafts, dropping flares.
A stiff breeze whipped the rain, with air and water temperatures in the chill 50s.
BILL SLIDHAM, skipper of the county life guard boat Bay Watch, said his craft was the first boat to arrive and he found four crewmen on a wing and many passengers in two large rafts.
One raft was in the water tied to the plane, he said, and the other was still on a wing.
"We took a load from one of them. Of the eight we took four were injured, two seriously, one a boy about 6."
High In Water.
He said the plane was high in the water, right side up, and he could see no damage.
"Very many of the passengers were moaning and groaning," he said. "There were cries of 'Oh, God, get me ashore,' and 'I hurt! I hurt!'"
A Coast Guard cutter took another dozen aboard and carried them ashore on stretchers.
Small craft of all descriptions brought in others and, later, recovered bodies.
Fire Chief JAMES GRAYCROFT said it took 40 minutes to reach the area from shore.
Small boats recovered floating suitcases and life jackets. Divers went underneath the fuselage looking for bodies but found none.
Coast Guardsmen searched the plane's inside but found no one.
ANDERSON, the off-duty pilot, told newsmen he spoke to the pilot after the crash and was told "he was having a little trouble with the landing gear" just before it happened.
The crash was the first major mishap in or near International Airport. SAS said it was the line's first crash in the United States and second ever.
The crash was reminiscent of the belly landing of a Japan Airlines plane in San Francisco Bay last Nov. 22, as the pilot was approaching San Francisco International Airport for a landing. All 107 aboard survived that one, in calm shallow water.
The Fresno Bee Republican California 1969-01-14
Scandinavian Airlines System Flight 933 was a scheduled international flight from Denmark to the United States that on January 13, 1969, crashed into Santa Monica Bay at 19:21, approximately 6 nautical miles (11 km) west of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in California, United States. The crash into the sea was caused by pilot error during approach to runway 07R; the pilots were so occupied with the nose gear light not turning green that they lost their situation awareness and failed to keep track of their altitude. The Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) aircraft had a crew of nine with 36 passengers, of which 15 died. The flight originated at Copenhagen Airport, Denmark, and had a stopover at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, where there was a change of crew.
The crash site was within international waters, but the National Transportation Safety Board carried out an investigation, which was published on July 1, 1970. The report stated the probable cause as improper crew resource management and stated that the aircraft was fully capable of carrying out the approach and landing. The aircraft was conducting an instrument approach, but was following an unauthorized back course approach.