Nr. Yakutat, AK Plane Lost With 38 Aboard, July 1951



Vancouver, B. C., July 21. -- (AP) -- A four-engined DC-4 winging 38 persons to Tokyo on the Korean airlift was swallowed Saturday during "foul" weather along the wild Alaska panhandle coast on an outbound flight from Vancouver, B. C.
Most of the 31 passengers were American military men. The crew of seven included two stewardesses.
The big Canadian Pacific airliness plane was the first to meet disaster in the airlift's 87 million miles of flying since the outbreak of the Korean war.
Rescue planes were poised for another of the northwest's great air searches when the weather lifts. Ground fog and clouds blanketed the area between Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska, from the ground level to a height of 12,000 feet.
The seventeenth U. S. coast guard district at Juneau, which is directing the hunt, said the cutters, Citrus and Cahoone were scouring the icy mouth of the Gulf of Alaska northward from Cape Spencer.
The missing plane made its last position report at 12:17 a.m. off Cape Spencer, about 80 miles due west of Juneau.
McChord air force base near Tacoma, Wash., stateside terminus for American "great circle" airlift operations, said the DC-4 carried 23 U. S. air force, three U. S. army and two royal Canadian navy men, three American civilians and the crew.
Names of the passengers have not been released. All crew members were Canadians from Vancouver.
An early report that the three civilians were united nations officials was scotched later by U. N. headquarters in New York.
The air liner has been listed as "definitely down" on its 1,348 mile flight from Vancouver to Anchorage. It had only enough fuel to last until just before 6 o'clock Saturday morning.
There was only silence after its Cape Spencer report in which the pilot, Captain VICTOR FOX, gave no indication of any trouble. The DC-4 was to have checked in by radio again at Yakutat, about 150 miles up the Alaska panhandle coast.
Weather may have caused it to crash.
If the plane remained on course, it would have been about 25 to 30 miles off shore. But directly inland towers the rugged Brabazon range with dozens of peaks up to 14,000 feet and some of the wildest, most primitive country on the North American continent.
It was in this area that part of a serach was directed for a U. S. C-54 which vanished in January 1950, with 44 persons aboard. The wreckage was never found.
Rescue planes were standing by in Washington, British Columbia and Alaska to launch an aerial search for the DC-4 when weather permits.
Even though the missing plane carried rubber liferafts and other emergency equipment, the chances of survival fo the 38 passengers and crew were considered slim if the plane went down in the icy sea off the Alaska coast. Rescue officials say the maximum survial time for anyone directly in the 50-degree water is about an hour.

Billings Gazette Montana 1951-07-22



Yakutat, Alaska, July 23 -- (U.P.) -- Search planes scanned the mountainous, glacier-covered southeastern Alaska coast Monday for traces of a Korean airlift DC-4, missing since Saturday with 38 persons aboard.
No sign of the Tokyo-bound Canadian Pacific Airlines plane was reported as 21 planes from a coast guard airstrip at Yakutat dipped into glaciated ravines and topped jagged peaks of the Fairweather range in "the land of lost airplanes."
Aboard the missing four-engined plane were 26 United States servicemen, three civilian government employes, two Canadian navy men and a crew of seven.
United States Tenth rescue squadron planes searched the craggy, glacier-studded Mount Fairweather area, 60 miles north of Cape Spencer, Alaska, where the C.P.A. transport last reported its position early Saturday. Mount Fairweather itself rises 15,300 feet. Pilot of the missing DC-4 reported he was flying "on schedule" at 9,000 feet when over Cape Spencer.
Searchers also hunted over the Barbazon range near the towering St. Elias mountains and scanned a heavily glaciated area farther north.
The missing ship was en route from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Anchorage, Alaska, on the first leg of a flight to Tokyo.
The area being searched was one where several planes have disappeared in the past. In November 1948 an Alaska Air Express DC-4 with 17 persons aboard vanished on a trip from Anchorage to Alaska. No trace was found.
The coast guard on the chance that the plane went down soon after its last report, Monday concentrated its efforts in the waters of the Gulf of Alaska.
Officers said it would be possible to live only about out hour in the icy water.
The plane left Vancouver Friday night with enough gas to stay aloft until about 9:30 a.m. (E.D.T.) Saturday.
A faint radio signal was received for a time Saturday. It was impossible to tell whether it was distress message from the plane. Later the signal faded.

Billings Gazelle Montana 1951-07-24

Transcribers Note: The wreckage of the aircraft was never found.