On September twenty third, 1962, Flying Tiger Line operated a constitution flight taking servicemen and their households from McGuire Air Power Base, New Jersey, to Frankfurt, Germany. There have been 68 passengers and eight crew onboard. The Lockheed L-1049 Tremendous Constellation flight crew have been Captain John Murray, Co-pilot Robert Parker, Engineer James Garrett, and navigator Samuel Nicholson. Working within the cabin have been head flight attendant Betty Sims and her crew, Carol Ann Gould, Jacqueline Brotman, and Ruth Mudd.
Referred to as out
Carol, a fairly and energetic 22-year-old flight attendant, all the time had a smile on her face. She’d beforehand labored as a flight attendant for Frontier Airways. She’d been at Flying Tiger Line only a few months. Carol was staying with a pal after an evening out. It was her time off. At 04:30, she acquired a name from the Flying Tiger Line workplace asking her if she may cowl for a sick colleague. She beloved her job and was glad of the extra time. She returned to her mother or father’s home, collected her uniform and suitcase, and stated ‘Good night time’ to her mom earlier than heading to Newark Airport, New Jersey.
She was met there by head flight attendant Betty Sims, 31, who briefed the crew on the flight. She’d simply bought married to a pilot and had been flying for 10 years. This was to be her final flight, and she or he’d already handed in her discover. They flew to the Air Base and picked up the passengers, and stopped at Gander, Newfoundland, to refuel the plane.
The passengers bought off to stretch and get some lunch. Jacqueline had unhealthy emotions in regards to the flight and was anxious. Carol hugged her and advised her all the things can be simply wonderful. It was Ruth’s final flight as she’d been advised that she’d been laid off. They boarded the plane and ready for the flight to Frankfurt.
Betty advised Carol she may take some relaxation in the course of the flight, as she’d been referred to as out final minute. A bit later, Jacqueline woke her to inform her that there was an engine on fireplace. She seemed exterior the window and noticed the flames coming from engine no.3 and heard the engineer say, ‘oh, my god!’. She saved her calm and advised herself she would by no means panic in entrance of the passengers.
At 21,000 toes, the fireplace was extinguished, and the plane descended to 10,000 toes and was headed in the direction of Shannon in Eire. The engineer mistakenly shut down the flawed engine valve inflicting the engine to overspeed and be shut down. Betty was referred to as to the cockpit for a briefing from the captain. Betty confirmed no signal of alarm as she returned to the cabin.
She made an announcement saying that there was no rapid hazard and that the plane was constructed to fly with two engines. There can be no dinner as that they had restricted energy to warmth the meals, however a cake and occasional service would resume shortly.
Making ready for the worst
As a precautionary measure, the flight attendants handed out life vests and ready the passengers for an emergency touchdown on water. They stated that this was only a observe and unlikely to occur. Footwear and sharp objects have been eliminated and saved away. Girls have been requested to take away their stockings and connect them round their waists. This was to assist pull them out of the water if vital. They went again and again the directions time and time once more within the following hours. Carol reassured passengers, saying that Captain Murray was the most effective pilot to take care of any scenario.
A number of hours later…
Immediately, alarms sounded, and there have been flames coming from engine no.2. The engine shuddered and stopped. The captain introduced, ‘Girls and Gents, we’re going to ditch.’ He turned the plane into the wind and located a degree spot to land between the swells. He issued an SOS name. Pillows and blankets have been distributed by the flight attendants within the cabin to assist cushion the touchdown. They did a last seatbelt test. The passengers shouted at them to take a seat down. They have been anxious that they wouldn’t make it to their seats in time. The flight attendants shouted their instructions:
“Head in your knees, cross your arms over your head and brace in opposition to the seat in from of you! This isn’t a drill!”
The cabin went darkish. There was a sound of crunching metallic because the plane plunged into the icy North Atlantic Ocean, 500 miles off the West Coast of Eire. It was a violent influence. Some seats had damaged unfastened, and passengers had been thrown out of the plane into the tough seas. Water was pouring into the plane. There have been 5 life rafts onboard. The navigator managed to push one exterior the door he was seated at, however it had inflated the wrong way up.
What occurred subsequent
Betty reminded Carol easy methods to retrieve the life raft and advised her she’d just do wonderful. Carol eliminated an exit window and shouted for the passengers to get out. She had deliberate for passengers to exit on the wing after which bounce into the raft, however the wing had damaged off. That they had no selection however to leap into the freezing ocean. She made positive there have been no extra passengers inside earlier than leaping out. She discovered herself struggling slightly below the water as a passenger was clinging on to her and pulling her downwards. She didn’t need to drown so managed to interrupt away and swim towards a small gentle.
The flight engineer died. He had been thrown by the massive waves onto the jagged fringe of the damaged wing. The captain had acquired a head wound and was lined in blood. As an afterthought, he had returned to the cockpit earlier than exiting to get a flashlight. He was final to depart the plane. Carol noticed the flashlight on the raft and was pulled in by one of many troopers. One trooper stated that there was no extra room on the raft. It was geared up for 25 folks. Nevertheless, they pulled on one other 10 passengers to the upside-down raft.
Making an attempt to outlive
There have been 51 folks on the raft, there have been no emergency lights, and the emergency equipment was trapped beneath. Three of the passengers have been dying, and there was water contained in the raft. They have been being thrown about by the waves, and the passengers have been terrified. Carol needed to calm them. She all of the sudden thought of a tune she recalled from childhood and began to sing. The navigator all of the sudden heard an plane above them. A army plane had positioned them and dropped a pink flare.
“When it first dropped it was like daytime on the raft. It was good however it wasn’t. I may see everybody round me and so they have been all bloody. The water within the raft was turning sickening pink. Non-public Brown was bleeding so badly from a gash on his head, I knew that one thing needed to be accomplished. I remembered my slip. I took it off and made a compress out of it and put it on his head. Then a wave washed it off. The one solution to hold it there was to carry it. He blacked out just a few occasions.”- Carol, flight attendant flight 923
They’d been within the raft for 3 hours, and shock and publicity have been setting in. Within the distance, they might see a ship, which at first gave hope, however then they thought it might not rescue them. This was the Swiss freighter ship ‘MS Celerina’. Lastly, after 6 hours within the water, the occupants of the life raft have been pulled by ropes onto the ship. The captain was the final to depart the life raft and fell into the ocean however was rescued.
Carol needed to proceed her duties onboard the ship. A sailor gave her a shot of whiskey, and she or he went to assist consolation her passengers. She helped the ship’s physician with first assist. She additionally seemed to the ocean, questioning the place her colleagues have been.
4 of the life rafts had blown away with no additional survivors. Simply quarter-hour after the ditching, the plane succumbed to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Of the 51 on the life raft, 48 survived. A complete of 28 folks died – 18 have been misplaced at sea, together with Betty and Ruth. Seven our bodies have been discovered, together with Jacqueline, the co-pilot and flight engineer, and 4 of the servicemen.
The survivors have been taken care of onboard ‘MS Celerina’ and given garments, meals, and bunks to sleep in. Their return was hampered by unhealthy climate, however a rescue helicopter managed to evacuate 4 of essentially the most injured and three deceased to Shannon, Eire. Three days later, the ship was off the coast of Cork, and 17 extra survivors have been evacuated by helicopter. The ultimate remaining survivors disembarked in Antwerp, Belgium.
Carol was extraordinarily brave and resilient in her try and do her job to the most effective skill. She by no means flew once more.
Sources: www.af.mil; www.flyingtiger923.com; “Tiger within the Sea” by Eric Lindner