Boston, MA Airliner Crashes On Take Off, Oct 1960
60 KILLED IN BOSTON AIRLINER CRASH.
PLANE PLUNGES INTO HARBOR; 11 ON BOARD SAVED.
'ELECTRA' HAD JUST TAKEN OFF; 'TOP SECRET DOCUMENT' ABOARD.
Boston, Oct. 4 -- (AP) Moments after leaving a runway of a flight to the south, a huge Eastern Air Lines plane with 71 people and a "top secret document" aboard plunged into the muddy waters of Boston harbor late today. Six hours later the death toll was set at 60. There were 11 known survivors, all injured and being treated in three hospitals.
'Secret Decument' Aboard.
Among the passengers were 15 youthful recruits of the United States Marine Corps, en route to boot camp at Parris Island, S. C. Two of the rookie Leathernecks were among the known dead and at least three others were injured.
Existence of the unidentified secret document became known late tonight. Capt. CARL LARSEN, State Police officer in charge of rescue operations at the scene, said he was informed of it by a member of the Office of Special Investigation (OSI), a branch of the U.S. Air Force.
Capt. LARSEN said he was told the document had been aboard the plane at takeoff and was later missing. He said the FBI started a search for the document and an investigation of its disappearance.
THOMAS L. HACKETT, an official of the OSI at the airport, admitted his organization was looking for "something important" but said it was not top secret.
Although the FBI office in downtown Boston refused to comment, an airline spokesman said the FBI had made inquiries at Eastern's in-town office.
The turbo-prop Electra plane -- second of its kind to crash in less than three weeks -- carried 66 passengers and a crew of five. Early reports from the airline said there were 67 passengers, but later it developed that one -- HAROLD C. THOMAS of North Easton, Mass. -- missed the flight, No. 375.
The plane's pilot, co-pilot and two stewardesses survived the accident but the flight engineer was reported missing.
This was the first fatal commercial plane crash at Logan. An Air Force pet plane pilot was killed in a takeoff on April 5, 1955, to be listed as the only fatalilty recorded at the huge and busy air terminal.
Bodies were taken to the mortuary from the Winthrop police station, fire station and Community hospital, where they had been placed after removal from the wreckage.
Identification of the victims was difficult. Bodies were soaked with muddy water and oil and many were badly disfigured.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Boston and Winthrop.
The crash occurred at low tide and rescuers were forced to slog through a sea of mud. Most of the rescuers were volunteers, including many teen-aged boys.
The big airliner broke into two sections, one of which submerged in deep water. The other was in such shallow water it could be reached by wading.
Some of the dead were found still strapped in their seats.
As a boat reached shore with bodies, it returned to the scene with skin divers. As the work proceeded, darkness closed in and rescuers worked in the glare of searchlights from helicopters hovering overhead.
First reports of an explosion in the air proved erroneous. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.
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