Ditching of Flight 923 is an Atlantic ‘First’

Philadelphia Enquirer, Tuesday morning, Sept. 25, 1962 – “Sunday night’s ditching of a Flying Tiger Constellation off the coast of Ireland was the first successful “controlled” water landing in the Atlantic by a U.S. scheduled airline since the carriers began to fly land-based transports over the route 16 years ago.

“There have been several ditchings in the Pacific, including an apparent one that cost the lives of all 36 passengers and a seven-man crew. Involved was a Pan American Word Airways Stratocruiser which disappeared Nov. 8, 1957, on a flight fro from San Francisco to Honolulu.

“Only a few bodies and very little wreckage were found. But the victims were wearing life jackets, indicting that there had been advance warning of trouble and a likely ditching attempt.

“The two most successful airliner ditchings also occured in the Pacific. The first was on Oct. 16, 1956, when Capt. Richard Ogg of Pan Am added a crippled stratocruiser in smooth water with not one of the 24 passengers and seven crewmembers even getting their feet wet.

“A Northwest Orient Airlines DC-7C with 58 passengers and a crew of seven ditched off Luzon in the Philippines July 14, 1960, There was only one fatality—an elderly woman passenger who died of shock and exposure.

“Ditching a large aircraft is regarded as one of the most difficult maneuvers in aviation. A plane hitting the water is exposed to greater shock forces than if it crashed on a cement runway.

“Most successful ditchings have taken place in relatively smooth water. Landing in choppy seas calls for  the utmost skill.    

 [Note to readers: A crewman on the Celerina, 19 year old Pierre-Andre Raymon, on the very same day of the ditching, Sep. 23, 1962, took film of the raging seas to show his family and friends. He did it with old Brownie 8 mm motion picture camera. To see what those seas looked like (and they got worse that day), click this link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6wqjzs40EE&feature=g-upl . For information   on the photograper and his filming that day, click this link:
https://flyingtiger923.com/2012/06/16/video-raging-seas-of-the-north-atlantic/ ]

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[We greatly appreciate the Philadelphia Enquirer for providing us with this interesting and unusual story by way of Mrs. Karen Eldred-Stephan who lives with her husband in central Germany.  Karen sent us a number of newspaper articles collected by her father, Captain Robert C. Eldred (US Army Retired) who was a survivor. Her mother, Edna, died in the crash.]

About Fred Caruso

Survivor of the crash of Flying Tiger 923. at night, at sea, 500 miles off the west coast of Ireland, with 28 deaths and 48 survivors, September 23, 1962.
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5 Responses to Ditching of Flight 923 is an Atlantic ‘First’

  1. Stef Bailis says:

    Last word might be “skill”

  2. Karen Eldred-Stephan says:

    I’ve looked the original again Fred, it’s “the utmost skill”


  3. Ragnar Domstad says:

    I am thinking about another successful and recent ditching – US Airways Flight 1549 that ditched in the Hudson river five years ago


  4. Blake Henry Xenia, OH says:

    I believe Karen nailed it. It’s amazing how anyone made it out alive from having to spend any time in such cold water. I filled a sink with water and added a few ice cubes to get the temp down to 40 degrees. My friend could only hold his hand in it for 5 minutes before pulling it out. I asked him if he thought he could swim in water that cold. He said, “Never”.

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