Long Island, NY Airplane Crash, Mar 1962
Three alarms were sounded for the fire erupting from the plane.
The fire was reported under control at 10:50 a. m. -- but by that time only wreckage remained.
All eight crew members in the crash were Californians. A spokesman for the line said the crew had arrived in New York from Boston this morning to make the West Coast flight.
Volunteer fireman MARTIN gave this account on the basis of reports from the scene by two-way radio:
"The rescue workers are walking out into the marshes about a block or a block and a half to try and find survivors and pick up bodies. They tell me they sink into the water about up to their boot tops and sometimes to their knees. Since it is low tide that is a break, because otherwise they would sink much deeper."
"The fire is out and a third alarm was sounded about 11:15 a. m. as a call for more men to help in rescue operations. We understand the plane blew up when it hit the marshes and blew into many small pieces. However, some reports say large sections of the plane still are intact."
MRS. LOTTIE LENNON, of Broad Channel, said her house shook "like an explosion."
"I've never heard anything like it," she said. "I thought it was the house next door."
"I was afraid to open the door. I went upstairs and looked out the window. The sky was filled with heavy black smoke. I woke up my son, DESMOND, who works night for United Airlines at Idlewild. DESMOND was in the Air Force. He knows all about planes. He got dressed right away and went out into the bay to try to help."
MRS. LENNON said the smoke rose from the swampland about a mile from her home.
All 4 Crewmen Aboard 707 L.B. Area Residents
All four flight crewmen of the American Airlines 707 jet, which crashed off Long Island this morning, were residents of the Long Beach area.
The pilot, Capt. JAMES H. HEIST, 58, of 9 Blackwater Canyon Road, Rolling Hills, had served with the airline 22 years and had flown more than 5 million miles.
A captain in the Naval Reserve, Heist learned to fly at the Navy's aviation school at Pensacola, Fla.
Airline officials said today's crash, which claimed the lives of all 95 persons aboard, was HEIST'S first accident as a commercial flier.
He is reportedly survived by his wife, ESTHER, two daughters, NANCY, 20, of the residence, and MRS. JOHN VALDEZ, 24, of Torrance, and two grandsons.
MICHAEL BARNA, JR., 34, the copilot, lived with his wife, BERNICE, and three children, VICKI, 11, MICHAEL, 8, and STEPHANIE, 5, at 1200 Via Gabriele, Palos Verdes Estates.
He had flown for American 12 years. Neighbors said BARNA and his wife built their home high on Palos Verdes' Montemalaga five years ago, moving there from Westchester.
The second officer, ROGER PECOR, 32, roomed with a fellow co-pilot, BILL PEARSON, 32, at 2508 Highland St., Hermosa Beach. We[sic] was apparently separated from his wife, BETTY, who lived with their two children in Anaheim.
PECOR was a former Air Force flier and a captain in the reserve. He flew a B26 bomber in Korea, during the war there before joining the airline.
PEARSON said he had flown with all four of the dead crewmen and that all "were above average among congenial people to work with."
ROGER CAIN, 32, the flight engineer, resided at 12602 Oak Way Drive, Rossmoor, with his wife, MARIE, and daughters, SANDY, 2, and CATHY, 3.
A native of Miles City, Mont., CAIN flew with the Navy before joining the airline several years ago. He had lived in Rossmoor for three years. His wife, expecting their third child in two weeks, was placed under a doctor's care in deep shock when informed of the crash.
A doctor also administered to MRS. BARNA after she was told the news of the accident.
The plane's four stewardesses all lived in the Los Angeles area.
They were BETTY MOORE and LOIS A. KELLY of Santa Monica and SHIRLEY GARBOW and ROSALIND STEWART of Los Angeles.
MISS KELLY was returning after a visit with her parents in Mount Union, Pa. She was due to be married soon to STEVE BERGER of Oakland.
MISS STEWART, a Los Angeles native, was the only daughter of Mr. And Mrs. R. Conrad Stewart of 6530 San Vincente Blvd., Los Angeles, with whom she lived.
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