The pilot, Bob Loft (on the left), and flight engineer Don Repo (on the right), were two of the 101 people who perished in the air crash. There he was able to land in a swampy patch of grass and coordinate rescue efforts. Over time, the reporting of ghost sightings stopped. [8], In all, 75 survived the crash—67 of the 163 passengers and eight of the 10 flight attendants. In the year that followed, stories swirled that flight crews, attendants and passengers swore to several sightings of Repo and, briefly, Captain Bob Loft, on Eastern planes. Jay Repo believed. A flight engineer on an Eastern Airlines flight from Atlanta to Miami was surprised to find a uniformed crew member already sitting at his seat. Footage of the incident appeared in the film Days of Fury (1979), directed by Fred Warshofsky and hosted by Vincent Price.[26]. I mmediately after takeoff, Warren Terry, the deadheading pilot who occupied one of the jump seats in the cockpit, moved to an empty seat in first class. [6]:107–108 Donadeo, the lone survivor of the four flight-deck occupants, recovered from his injuries. Employees would not come forward for fear they’d be sent to the nuthouse. [21] A TV movie The Ghost of Flight 401, was aired in February 1978. On his 1979 album Three Hearts, musician Bob Welch also recorded a song titled "The Ghost of Flight 401". We use cookies on our website to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. The landing gear could have been manually lowered nonetheless. These “Crackers” said there were two explanations and nobody knew if one was correct or if it was a combination thereof that led to the use of that term. Florida Time archives: Get caught up on the stories you’ve missed. Eliot Kleinberg has been a staff writer for the past three decades at The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, and is the author of 10 books about Florida (ekfla.com). Within three months of the crash, Fuller claimed, the sightings began (always) on L-1011s. He swore witnesses told him directly. Pieces of Flight 401’s wreckage can also be found in Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut. However, Captain Loft died before he could be rescued from the wreckage. [6], The flight was under the command of Captain Robert Albin (Bob) Loft, age 55, a veteran pilot ranked 50th in seniority at Eastern. The breakup of the fuselage had freed it from its stowage and activated its inflation mechanism. It was the Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar model which, on December 29, 1972, left New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and crashed into the Florida Everglades, causing 101 fatalities. 20 Chilling Unsolved Mysteries That Will Leave You Scared! Sorry; no personal replies. [6]:110, Investigation into the aircraft's autopilot showed that the force required to switch to CWS mode was different between the A and B channels (15 vs. 20 lbf or 6.8 vs. 9.1 kgf, respectively). As Stockstill started another turn, onto 180°, he noticed the discrepancy. Then came scattered parts from the No. The death toll per the final accident report was 99. Then, it dropped 100 ft (30 m), and then again flew level for two more minutes, after which it began a descent so gradual it could not be perceived by the crew. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. 1 engine and the port main undercarriage. Chapter 2 - Crash. After lowering the gear, First Officer Stockstill noticed that the landing gear indicator, a green light identifying that the nose gear is properly locked in the "down" position, had not illuminated. Flashlights are now standard equipment near jumpseats, and all jumpseats are outfitted with shoulder harnesses. Il volo Eastern Air Lines 401 era un volo di linea della Eastern Air Lines tra New York e Miami.Il 29 dicembre 1972 il Lockheed L-1011 TriStar che operava il volo è precipitato mentre eseguiva un avvicinamento di routine all'Aeroporto Internazionale di Miami, uccidendo 5 dei 13 membri dell'equipaggio e 94 dei 163 passeggeri (due sopravvissuti morirono in ospedale a causa delle ferite riportate). Include your full name and hometown. About 490 feet (150 m) from the wingtip's initial contact with the ground, the massive fuselage had begun to break up, scattering components from the underfloor galley, the cargo compartments, and the cabin interior. Read more Florida history: Here are Florida’s top 25 stories of all time. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. [15][18] The reported hauntings were said to only be seen on the planes that used the spare parts. At this moment, the First Officer Albert Stockstill noticed that the landing gear indicator was not illuminating. Captain Loft had been with the airline for 32 years and had accumulated a total of 29,700 flight hours throughout his flying career. The crash occurred while the entire cockpit crew was preoccupied with a burnt-out landing gear indicator light. The engineer had recognized the stranger. The slight forward pressure on the stick would have caused the aircraft to enter a slow descent, maintained by the CWS system. Of the 176 people on board, 101 lost their lives in the tragedy. Fuller recounts stories of paranormal events aboard other Eastern aircraft, and the belief that these were caused by equipment salvaged from the wreckage of Flight 401. Eastern Air Lines flight 401 encountered no problems while cruising between the two cities. The crash was featured in season five of the Discovery Channel Canada / National Geographic TV series Mayday, in a 2009 episode called "Fatal Distraction".[9]. The plane was a … There were 75 survivors. Only 75 passengers and crew survived. With the aircraft in mid-turn, the left wingtip hit the surface first, then the left engine and the left landing gear,[5]:8 making three trails through the sawgrass, each 5 ft (1.5 m) wide and over 100 ft (30 m) long. Both pilots and the flight engineer died, along with 2 out of 10 flight attendants and 96 of the 163 passengers on board. An original floor board from Flight 401 remains in the archives at History Miami in South Florida. To get daily short stories, history bites and mystery updates, like us on, The Riddle Of The Sphinx: An Unsolved Ancient Mystery, Kodinhi – The Unsolved Mystery Of The Twin Town Of India, Bathsheba Sherman And The Evil Doll Annabelle: The True Story Behind ‘The Conjuring’. Upon inquiring, my mother who was a teacher gave her usual reply, “look it up.” Of course, the World Book Encyclopedia did not have any reference thereto. [22] Loft's widow and children did sue Fuller, for infringement of Loft's right of publicity, for invasion of privacy, and for intentional infliction of emotional distress, but the lawsuit was dismissed and the dismissal upheld by the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation later discovered that the crash happened due to a burned-out light bulb. The Hammersmith Nude Murders: Who Was Jack The Stripper? He accompanied 3 survivors on the helicopter to the hospital including a flight attendant and passenger who lost her baby in the crash. From this point on, the breakup of the fuselage became more extensive, scattering metal fragments, cabin fittings, and passenger seats widely. [22] Eastern considered suing for libel, based on assertions of a cover-up by Eastern executives, but Borman opted not to, feeling a lawsuit would merely provide more publicity for the book. In another 50 seconds, the plane was at half its assigned altitude.[5]:5. Flight 401 was referenced in season one of Supernatural, episode four: “Phantom Traveler”, which aired on October 4, 2005. Next week: Who was the first sitting president to visit Florida? The TriStar's port outer wing structure struck the ground first, followed by the No. Stockstill died instantly in the impact as the plane crashed into the swampy Florida Everglades. At the time, it was the nation’s deadliest single-plane accident. The Lockheed L-1011 crashed into the Florida Everglades. 20 Strangest Facts About Dreams That You Never Heard Of, The Unsolved 1987 Slaying Of Dardeen Family Still Haunts Illinois, The Strange Death Of Gloria Ramirez, The Toxic Lady Of Riverside. [6]:107–109, Robert "Bud" Marquis (1929-2008),[7] an airboat pilot, was out frog gigging with Ray Dickinsin (1929-1988) when they witnessed the crash. But the rumours of the flight haunting had already spread far and wide. The NTSB classified the injuries of one nonrevenue passenger and one other passenger as nonfatal, as their deaths occurred more than seven days after the accident. Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 was a scheduled flight from New York to Miami.Shortly before midnight on December 29, 1972, the Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar crashed into the Florida Everglades, causing 101 fatalities. The other crew members assisted Stockstill, but he also became distracted by the problem. The story of the crash and its aftermath was documented in John G. Fuller's 1976 book The Ghost of Flight 401. [5]:22[6]:109, The final NTSB report cited the cause of the crash as pilot error, specifically: "the failure of the flight crew to monitor the flight instruments during the final four minutes of flight, and to detect an unexpected descent soon enough to prevent impact with the ground. The pilots and the flight engineer, two of 10 flight attendants, and 96 of 163 passengers died; 75 passengers and crew survived. So I decided to ask around to some of the older Floridians. Repo, one of four siblings, was a teenager when his father’s plane dropped into the Everglades. This left four passengers in the flight deck for the remainder of the flight. It is said that this is the reason Loft and Repo haunted Flight 401 – to keep future flights safe from human error. From a reader: As a 75-year-old born and raised Floridian from a multigenerational Florida family (we are direct descendants of Domingo Acosta who came to Florida in the late 1700s), I would suggest to Mr. Kleinberg that there is a debated theory of the origin of the term “Florida Cracker.” Growing up, we were very familiar with the term and I can remember wondering where it originated. Right after this event, a new turn comes as a consequence. [5]:4 In the next 70 seconds, the plane lost only 250 ft (76 m), but this was enough to trigger the altitude warning C-chord chime located under the engineer's workstation. 2 engine continuing to deliver thrust during the actual breakup of the aircraft. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Only small fragments of metal marked the wingtip's first contact, followed 49 ft (15 m) further on by three massive 115 ft (35 m) swaths cut through the mud and sawgrass by the aircraft's extended undercarriage before two of the legs were sheared off. An original floorboard from Flight 401 remains in the archives at History Miami in South Florida. While Eastern Airlines publicly denied some of their planes were haunted, they reportedly removed all the salvaged parts from their L-1011 fleet. [17] Over time, the reporting of ghost sightings stopped. [5]:23 In this mode, once the pilot releases pressure on the yoke (control column or wheel), the autopilot maintains the pitch attitude selected by the pilot until he moves the yoke again. [5]:6[5]:16[9] However, the NTSB concluded that the captain's tumor did not contribute to the accident. [23], According to Robert J. Serling's 1980 book From the Captain to the Colonel: An Informal History of Eastern Airlines, the claim that wreckage from Flight 401 was installed and later removed from other Eastern aircraft was false, and no Eastern employees had ever claimed to have seen or believed in the alleged ghost sightings. The pilots and the flight engineer, two of 10 flight attendants, and 96 of 163 passengers died. [9] All the survivors were injured; 60 received serious injuries and 17 suffered minor injuries that did not require hospitalization. N310EA, the aircraft involved in the accident. Aircraft 310 was one of a dozen L-1011s Lockheed had delivered to Eastern Airlines that year, and it was one of the best of the bunch. Over the following months and years, employees of Eastern Air Lines began reporting sightings of the dead crew members, captain Robert Loft and second officer Donald Repo, sitting on board other L-1011 flights. After descending 250 feet (76 m) from the selected altitude of 2,000 feet (610 m), a C-chord sounded from the rear speaker. Based on the book, it dramatized the crash, rescue efforts, and NTSB investigation. Explore the world of strange and unexplained things, creepy stories, true crimes, dark history, paranormal happenings and many more. He had logged 280 hours in the L-1011. [5]:9 The landing gear could have been manually lowered, nonetheless. The stranger said, “You don’t need to worry about the pre-flight.” Then the man simply vanished. On Dec. 29, 1972, Eastern Flight 401 from New York to Miami took off from JFK Airport at 9:20 pm. [5]:6[a], The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation discovered that the autopilot had been inadvertently switched from altitude hold to control wheel steering (CWS) mode in pitch. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. It was the Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar model which, on December 29, 1972, left New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and crashed into the Florida Everglades, causing 101 fatalities. Crash. Here are Florida’s top 25 stories of all time, Get caught up on the stories you’ve missed, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. [10], Most of the dead were passengers in the aircraft's midsection. He told me in 1997 there were too many coincidences. Preoccupation with a malfunction of the nose landing gear position indicating system distracted the crew's attention from the instruments and allowed the descent to go unnoticed. The pilots cycled the landing gear, but still failed to get the confirmation light and they crashed abruptly. 1 (port) engine, and fragments from the port wing itself and the port tailplane. [5]:27–29, A company employee—technical officer Angelo Donadeo, 47, returning to Miami from an assignment in New York—accompanied the flight crew for the journey, but was officially an off-duty, "nonrevenue passenger". Issues Aboard Flight 401 Surface. Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 was a scheduled flight from New York to Miami. It crashed on the ground within 4 minutes. Official Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 - History, Photos, Survivors and Tribute. When the main part of the fuselage hit the ground, it continued to move through the grass and water, breaking up as it went. Investigators believe the autopilot switched modes when the captain accidentally leaned against the yoke while turning to speak to the flight engineer, who was sitting behind and to the right of him. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Parts of the aircraft that had crashed operating Flight 401 were salvaged after the crash investigation and refitted into other L-1011s. Therefore, the crash was due to the pilot-error. They rushed to rescue survivors. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. His flight crew included the First Officer Albert Stockstill, 39, and the Second Officer cum flight engineer, Donald Repo, 51. Flight 401’s chain of problems began on the approach to Florida two hours after departure. The mud of the Everglades may have blocked wounds sustained by survivors, preventing them from bleeding to death. The approach controller cleared the flight to climb to 2,000 ft (610 m), and then hold west over the Everglades. It was also featured in Smithsonian Television’s Air Disasters season 14, episode 9, "Deadly Disturbance", which aired March 21, 2020. "[5]:23–24, In response to the accident, many airlines started crew resource management training for their pilots. At 820 ft (250 m) along the wreckage trail, the outer section of the starboard wing tore off, gouging a 59-foot-long (18 m) crater in the soft ground as it did so. Source: Google Sites. [5]:3, The cockpit crew removed the light assembly,[6]:102 and Second Officer Repo was dispatched to the avionics bay beneath the flight deck to confirm via a small porthole if the landing gear was indeed down. The passengers enjoyed a routine flight until 11:32 PM when the flight was near its destination in Florida and the crew were preparing for landing. They failed to notice that the autopilot had inadvertently been disconnected, and as a result, the aircraft gradually lost altitude and crashed. Captain Robert Loft and Second Officer Donald Repo survived the crash, shortly. Investigators later determined that while the crew was distracted with a front landing gear, the Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar quietly coasted to its destruction. My grandfather and some of his friends said they were well familiar with the term. Learn how and when to remove this template message, intentional infliction of emotional distress, List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft, "Airliner carrying 167 crashes in Everglades", "Giant jetliner goes down in 'gator infested swamp", "Eastern Airlines, Inc. L-1011, N310EA, Miami, Florida, December 29, 1972", "Robert "Bud" Marquis's Obituary on San Francisco Chronicle", PART TWO: THE CRASH "It felt like a wild rollercoaster ride...", "A Lesson on the Importance of Crew Resource Management", "Lessons Learnt from the Crash of Eastern 401", https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Warrens-Occult-Museum/126070474135029?sk=photos_albums, "Watch Days of Fury (1979) on the Internet Archive", Eastern Flight 401 The Story of the Crash, The Crash of Eastern Air Lines Flight 401-Epilogue, ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed L-1011-385-1 TriStar 1 N310EA Everglades, FL, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eastern_Air_Lines_Flight_401&oldid=987511051, Aviation accidents and incidents in the United States in 1972, Airliner accidents and incidents in Florida, Airliner accidents and incidents involving controlled flight into terrain, Airliner accidents and incidents caused by pilot error, Eastern Air Lines accidents and incidents, Accidents and incidents involving the Lockheed L-1011, December 1972 events in the United States, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 7 November 2020, at 14:45. For his efforts, he received the Humanitarian Award from the National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation and the "Alumitech – Airboat Hero Award", from the American Airboat Search and Rescue Association. The fact that the tail assembly—rear fuselage, No. Fuller claims Eastern management denied the incidents, and there are no official reports to support them. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. [6]:108 The most common injuries were fractures of ribs, spines, pelvises, and lower extremities. [15][16][17], These rumors speculated that parts of the crashed aircraft were salvaged after the investigation and refitted into other L-1011s. Of the cockpit crew, only flight engineer Repo survived the initial crash, along with technical officer Donadeo, who was down in the nose electronics bay with Repo at the moment of impact. The three major sections of the fuselage—the most intact of which was the tail assembly—lay in the mud towards the end of the wreckage trail. [6]:101 The pilots cycled the landing gear, but still failed to get the confirmation light. [5]:4 Fifty seconds after reaching their assigned altitude, Captain Loft instructed First Officer Stockstill to put the L-1011 on autopilot. Frank Borman, a former NASA astronaut and Eastern's senior vice president of operations, was awoken at home by a phone call explaining of a probable crash. The flight departed JFK Airport on Friday, December 29, 1972, at 9:20 PM, with 163 passengers and a total of 13 crew members on board. © 2020 M Y S T E R I E S R U N S O L V E D | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 was a scheduled flight from New York JFK to Miami.
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