Puget Sound, WA Airliner Crashes, Apr 1956


Seattle -- (AP) -- A limping luxury airliner crash-landed and sank in Puget Sound after takeoff Monday, and the Coast Guard reported two hours later that 32 of 37 aboard were known to have survived.
The Coast Guard said its reports indicated three were dead and two missing. One of the dead was reported to be a child.
Those killed were:
MRS. YEE TSUI KONG LIN, 37, formerly of Hong Kong.
YEE SAUY FOON, 6, her son.
DAVID V. RAZEY, flight service attendant, Seattle.
The Northwest Orient Airlines Stratocruiser, bound for New York, landed on the water as the pilot, Capt. ROBERT R. HEARD, tried to get it back to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The big four-engined, double-deck plane carried 31 passengers and six crew members.
The Stratocruiser landed near Maury Island, midway between Seattle and Tacoma, moments after it took off. The survivors were able to scramble onto the wings of the giant Boeing-built airliner in the approximately seven minutes it remained afloat.
The takeoff had been from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The Coast Guard said there were no reports of serious injuries among the survivors. A direct check on them was delayed by the confusion of some being taken to Tacoma and others to Seattle.
Sgt. Richard Engel, 24, of Yakima, Wash., told of picking up the bodies of a man and a child on the Air Force rescue plane, of which he was a crew member.
"Two or three small boats had people in them," Engel said in telling of the amphibian rescue plane's arrival on the scene, "a lot of people still were in the water. We started picking people out.
I pulled in one dead man who was floating."
The rescue plane had been headed for California from McChord Air Force Base when it turned back on learning of the emergency.
It was the Nation's second airliner crash on takeoff within 16 hours. A Trans World Airlines plane crashed Sunday night near Pittsburgh, killing 22. There were 14 survivors.
The Northwest Airlines crash in Puget Sound came after the pilot had radioed he was trying to return to the airport because of trouble with the plane; then he radioed he might not be able to complete his sweeping turn.
Numerous residents ashore saw the crash.

Port Angeles Evening News Washington 1956-04-02