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

A Pan Am Stratocruiser identical to Flight 7.



Honolulu -- UP -- A navy plane today sighted the bodies of nine persons in the Pacific 128 miles west-northwest of the last position report by a Pan American World Airways airliner which vanished last Friday night with 44 persons aboard.
The pilot, from the carrier Philippine Sea, radioed "highly probable wreckage sighted."
A few minutes later he sent word that nine bodies were sighted, one of them strapped in an airplane seat.

Proceed To Area.
The coast guard announced the Philippine Sea and the destroyer Renshaw were proceeding to the area to attempt to recover the bodies. The carrier was 75 miles from the bodies.
Helicopters from the Philippine Sea took off immediately.
The navy pinpointed the location of the wreckage as 135 miles west-northwest of the last reported position of the airliner, which is about 88 miles off the aircraft's planned course of flight and about 830 miles northeast of Oahu, Hawaii.
The sighting was due west of a track being taken by the Philippine Sea en route to Honolulu as part of a "vacuum cleaner" search effort between the point of no return and Hawaii.
The big luxury aircraft vanished without a word of warning while en route from San Francisco to Honolulu with 36 passengers and a crew of eight.

Last Message.
The plane's commander, Captain GORDON H. BROWN of Los Altos, Santa Clara County, a 15 year veteran of Pan American, last reported his position fewer than 100 miles past the midway point on the 2,400 mile flight.
No further word came from the plane and a massive air-sea search was launched Friday night.
Some 20 ships and 65 aircraft, led by the hunter-killer carrier Philippine Sea, scanned a 275,000 square mile area. Several sightings were made but all were checked out and discounted until today's report by the carrier plane.
With discovery of the wreckage and bodies, Hawaiian Air-Sea Frontier Search and Rescue headquarters ordered all 13 land based military and civilian aircraft and 20 surface vessels in the search at the moment to head for the pin pointed area.
The Philippine Sea was leading the destroyer Renshaw, and coast guard cutters Bering Straits and Minnetonka to the scene. Plans called for the bodies to be taken aboard the Renshaw and brought to Pearl Harbor.
Still unsolved however is the mystery of what happened to the plane. Company officials refused to speculate about the cause of the crash. But search officials suggested it was something sudden and violent which whould prevent the crew from radioing a distress message.

The Fresno Bee and Republican California 1957-11-14



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.