The Daily Courier from Connellsville, Pennsylvania on January 24, 1939 · Page 9
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The Daily Courier from Connellsville, Pennsylvania · Page 9

Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 24, 1939
Page 9
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TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 1939. THE DAILY COURIER. CONNBLLSVILLE. PA. PAGE NINE. Plane Passengers Sing in Water To "Landing for Lunch" Message From Steward to Avoid Alarming Those Aboard Airliner; Officers Praised for Heroism; Spence Gives Out All Lifebelts and Drowns When He Has None For Himself. CREW SILENT ON CAUSE OF DISASTER By JAMES C. AUSTIN United Press StafT Correspondent. NEW YORK, Jan. 24.--The passengers of the lost British flying boat Cavalier reported today that they had had no warning o£ an impending serious accident nnd had not received life preservers'until the piano had hit the sea nnd water was gushing in through its broken floor. The four men of the Cavalier's crew who survived were close-lipped as to the cause of the accident which killed three of the 13 persons aboard nnd flung the other 10 Into the Atlantic 300 miles from the nearest land, where they drifted for 10 hours before picked up by the tanker Esso Baytown. But Captain Neil Richardson, first officer of the $200,000 Imperial Airways craft, said he had ordered the stewards to distribute life preservers before the crash. The radio log of the Cavalier while it was lighting to stay in the air, showed that the crew had been aware of impending disaster for almost an hour before It overtook the plane. Today began the investigation into the disaster. Captain M. Ri Aider- son, master of the Cavalier, and his crow were to be questioned · by Captain G. C. Pirlc. air at- tache of the Britlrh embassy, nnd Paul E. Bewshca of Imperial Airways. An expert of the Civil Aeronautics Authority will be present, but only as an observer. Tlie United States has no official part in the Investigation. It has agreed, for a period of 15 years, to accept British certifications of air-worthiness of British ships operating out of American ports in return for a British agreement to accept American certifications. The survivors said there had been only "six or seven" life preservers . for the 13 occupants. They did not know whether there had been more in the plane which were not used. Returning to a tumultous greeting .In the harbor and on the pier, the survivors appeared , physical condition. to be in good Physicians and -Fated Flying-Boat and Principals ambulances had been ..waiting but' only two of the 10 -- women whose husbands were among the three who died -- needed medical attention. By contrast, the other eight waved happily to the welcoming crowd. . Mrs. Edna Watson, 43, .of Bermuda and Montreal, told the most vivid story of the passengers. Sho .said that not until the piano had "struck- and water was knee deep in the cabin, did Steward -Robert Spcnce stand at the emergency exit in tlie' smoking room nnd pass ' b u t the buoyant cushions which were to sustain them tor 10 hours. Before · Spenco had talked about "landing for lunch." · ' . Captain Alderson and members of his crew would not discuss -the'tcch- nlcal dlfllcultles that had brought the plane down, but It was evident that jce had formed in the carburetors, ^stalling one after another, of the. four motors, causing. the plane . to lose ^altitude 'from 12,000 feet until It was ^ barely skimming the surface,, then to .crash into the surging sea with such force that it stove in the plane's bottom. . Water, gushed In instantly nnd by the time the last of the passengers and crew had stepped out the doors, the cabin was almost filled. There was no time to gather up anything more than the life belts. That was a little after 1 P. M. Saturday. In the 10 hours that followed, three of the men died. Two members of the crew swam about the raft they made by tying the life preservers together. In relays, splashing and yelling to frighten off sharks. The women revived the spirits of a!l by singing; they couldn't remember what songs they sang. At dusk, a ship passed in the distance and they shouted In unison but failed to attract it. It was fl P. M. before the standard oil tanker Esso Baytown, which had veered off Its course from New York to Baytown, Tex., in response to the plane's SOS, heard their cries. Two hours later its life -boat plucktd them out of the sea. Charles Talbot, 23, of Brooklinc, Mass., '.a student of" the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, -who had a broken arm In a cast, but survived, gave this version of what happened aboard the plane carrying a crew of five and eight passengers, bound out of New York's cold weather for semi-tropical Bermuda: "We were flying along under a clear sky at about 12,000 feet, they told us, when the air got very bumpy. Spcr.ce, the steward, came through and said we were going to have lunch. As the lunch was being prepared, he came through again and said we were going to drop to about 5,000 feet. We did just that, and plunged into clouds. "Then he came around again and said we were going down another thousand. Two of the engines had stopped, filled up with ice. We were skimming along at about 500 feet. Then Spence came around quietly and said to hang on as fast as possible, we were going to land. By that time a third motor had cut out. "When the ship hit it bounced off the top of one swell, struck a second time and went nose up. It hit a third time with a terrific boom nnd the bottom came in." Mrs. George Ingham, 24, also said that no llfo belts had been given out until nftcr the crash.. She said thnt as soon as they struck, a steward hurried her to the emergency door in the pantry,- which wns midship, between the smoking room nnd the after cabin. She wns one of the first ones out. "By the time the steward had the door open the water -.vas already pouring. In and the floor was .knee deep In water," she said. ."I literally had to step out Into the ocean." The three who died were Donalc Miller, Lincoln, Neb., department store owner; John Gordon Noakes New York fur auctioneer, and Hoberl Spcnce, a steward. Miller was caught in a swell and dashed against a wing. His head was injured. Spcnce, who had no life belt for himself, grasped Miller and swam with him until he was exhausted. He died in about an hour, 'of exhaustion. Miller had already slipped from his grasp and drowned. Noakcs also was badly injured by the-crash, but he was pulled to the raft and lived about two hours, before he slipped oft and was drowned. Tha survivors were: Mrs. Ingham, 24, of Hamilton, Bermuda; Mrs. Watson, Mrs, Donald Miller; Mrs. Noakes; Miss Nellie Smith, 34, of Bcrmudaj'Charlcs Talbot, 23, of Brookline.'Miss., all passengers; "and Captain Alderson, Captain Richardson, Patrick Chapman, radio officer, and David Williams, steward. · ' . Captain Alderson suffered a gash on his head when the plane struck. IN UNJONTOWN Rescuers and rescued of New York-Bermuda flying boat Cavalier toll dramatic story of survivors clinging to rubber life belts in stormy Atlantic for 10 hours prior to rescue by the tanker Esso Baytown. Above, ill-fated plane, map of scene, and left to right, M. R. Aluerson, plane's captain, rescued in critical condition; Robert Spence, steward, missing; Patrick Chapman, radio officer who called for aid; Neil Richardson, first officer; and Charles Talbot, Brooklinc, Mass., one of rescued passengers. relieves GOLDS, Fever and . uqoid. Tabicu. Headaches Salve. Nose Drops due to colds Try Rub-?ly-Tiim-a Wonderful liniment but he required no medical treatment when the rescue ship landed. Mrs. Noakes and Mrs. Miller were aided down the' gangplank. Both were grief-stricken. Mrs. Noakos' son, Donald G. Noakes, said today that she was under the care of a physician and was "doing as well as can l»e expected." He said his mother wns full of praise for the captain nnd crew of the Esso Baytown. Talbot said that the survivors had become friendly while discussing their experiences aboard the tanker, and had formed "a little organization" that would hold reunions occasionally. Mrs. Inghnm said most of the survivors were going to Bermuda on the ship Monarch of Bermuda next Saturday and probably would have their first reunion aboard that ship. Captain Frank Spurr, master of the Esso Bnytown, who emerged as one of the heroes of the disaster, and was officially commended last night by a resolution in the New Jersey Senate, attributed the rescue to three things: (1) The fact thnt the plane (fell into the Gulf Stream, whose waters are 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the North -Atlantic which saved them from freezing; (2) to the oil tanker's^ excellent navigation equipment which took It directly to the scene of the crash; (3) to the fact thnt it was a still night, and the survivors' cries could be heard over a great dlstnnce. Although Captain Alderson refused to say what forced the ship down, and he would not anwer questions j relating to the heat control of the 6arburetor intake on the four motors, it was evident from the stories of passengers that ice had brought the plane down. It wns lunch time nnd the plane was riding at 12,000 feet altitude when passengers had the first hint that something was wrong. They began to lose altitude. They dropped gradually to 5,000 feet. Sponcc came Into the cabin and reassured them there was no cause for alarm. The motors had begun sputtering. Talbot, one of the passengers, said the motors failed one by one, and by the time they had dropped to 500 feet, only one motor wns functioning nnd it could not sustain the 20-ton craft. Spence then entered the cabin and told them they were'going to "land for lunch." They landed hard. The plane struck a swell, it nosed up. settled back and struck a second swell that caved the bottom in. The stewards groped along the exits nnd began passing out life belts, assisting pasengers out, one at a time. Two of the women, f.rst out, swam nway hurriedly fearing, thnt the plnnc would sink and, a suction that would draw them down. Most of the passengers,, however, climbed along the wings and got on top of the cabin, where Captain A!c!erson started giving them instructions about forming the raft The plane settled gradually. It was not submerged for almost 15 minutes Spcnce, the last one out,'had no saved a life belt for himself and for several minutes he floundered'In the · Continued on Pago Ten. Speclnt to Thft Courier. UNIONTOWN, Jan. 24.--J. B. Turk, well known local oil man and chairman of the Faycttc county division of Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, announced today, followlnn a conference of the officers and committeemen .of the county organization, that plnns had been perfected for a mass meeting to be Held on Friday, January 27, at'the White Swan Hotel. 'We are making plans for the most Important and representative meeting of oil men ever hold in the county," Mr. Turk said. "Wo have been organized for some time' and have been actively engaged In promoting the program of our State association which Is designed specifically to benefit not only our motorist customers, but the Commonwealth as well. We are asking for deferred registration, such ns enjoyed by the motor vehicle owners in most-of-the states, permitting motorists. to secure license plates on the first of.April or a-later-date in the spring. We are actively advocating · and supporting legislation designed to prevent any diversion of motor funds from legitimate highway expenditures. We are throwing our entire strength- into a fight for the repeal of the so-called 'emergency' one-cent State gasoline tax. Already our customers are paying in excess of a 40 per cent sales tax on a commodity. Surrounding states are working for a reduction of gasoline taxes and, unless Pcnnsyl-. vania can also lower its taxes,,this State will be placed in 'an unfair competitive situation. . , ',' 'Officers of our State organization will be present at our mass meeting to which is invited any Individual who earns his living In whole or in pavt in the ol ndustry, as ' well "as those who have an interest in our activities. This is a non-profit organization and membership Involves no dues." Enjoy Tonight with THE TONIC for TIRED EYES! STOP in at the dealers' stores and see the' wonderful I. E. S. lamps that they are now offering--the most popular lamps ever made, because they are beautiful and provide good, restful light for the eyes. Sales of I. E. S. lamps have been growing by leaps and bounds. Prices were never so favorable. Now is the time to act. Be among the early buyers. By doing so you not only make sure of getting the type of lamp you want, but also the right style. Mrs.. Dorothy Bathgate -lecturer at The Courier COOKING SCHOOL --Iiiis selected Fanner's Milk for use In the cooking school. S T'S natural 'to get outside and .'ran around' and .play with other toys and- girls...If.your ' children appear. tb r ;btTtii;ed' imd^l.lsUcss" : It Is quite". posslMcT' tliat -tliolr';hcftUli isn't up to par. The"b'estvtiiing .to do;: .of'course, is to hare them ..examined by ' your family physician--just'-'for safety's sake. .It may be.Thnt their diet isn't right."In that-case·he'll-be'sure to suggest plenty of fresh, ( inilk; : -{And you know, that tlie finest^-purcsf,-tastiest milk Is pasteurized and bottled Ty the Farmers Dairy. IT'S NEW! Farmers' Pasteurized 15c Phone 880 Connellsville, Pa.

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