New York, NY Flying Boat Sinking, Jan 1939

10 of 13 Passengers On Huge Airliner Saved From Death

New York, Jan. 23 (AP) - Safe after one of the most dramatic rescues in the annals of trans-oceanic air travel,five men and five women survivors of the sunken flying boat Cavalier neared New York today aboard the tanker Esso Baytown - slowed by the storm-tossed seas.

They had been expected to arrive about 10 a.m., but later advices said rough weather might keep the tanker from reaching the North river pier until about 4 p.m. (E.S.T.).

Gale-swept seas which slowed the sturdy rescue vessel to eight knots revived anew for the ten who lived the memory of nearly 10 terror-filled hours they spent clinging to rubber lifebelts until the tanker hove [sic] to in the darkness, drawn by their cries.

Sorrow Tempers Joy

Joy over their own miraculous rescue was tempered with sorrow at the fate of three other persons - two men passengers and a plane steward - who slipped beneath icy waves, apparently too weak from injuries for the long struggle against tempest winds and battering water.

Eight coast guard vessels gave the tree up for lost last night after a thorough search of the seas where motor trouble forcved the giant Bermuda-bound Imperial British airways craft to pancake into the Atlantic ocean 300 miles southeast of Cape May, N.J., during a gale Saturday afternoon.

It sank in ten minutes, forcing the 13 persons aboard to leap into the water before they could don life-saving equipment.

See Husbands Die

Among the survivors were the wives of the two missing passengers. They were recuperating from hysterical horror engendered when, helpless to aid, they saw their weakened husbands slip from hastily grabbed lifebelts to certain death.

All survivors were reported in "fair condition," however, except Capt. M. R. Anderson, pilot of the 19-ton, $200,000 flying boat, who suffered more from shock and exposure than the others. Several were believed cut and bruised.

Two tugs carrying supplies, fresh clothing, relatives, airways officials and newspapermen were ready to steam down the channel and take the survivors - clad in borrowed sea togs - off the tanker.

Motor cars waited at the pier to speed them to a hospital for medical examination.

Mountainous waves had prevented the transfer of a doctor from the navy gunboat Erie to the tanker after the rescue, and the numbed passengers and crew members received first aid from seamen and a pharmacist's mate.

Three Are Missing

The missing:

Donald W. Miller, president of a Lincoln, Neb., department store; J. Gordon Noakes, 57, president of a New York auction company, and Robert Spence, one of the Cavalier's two stewards.

Those rescued:

Passengers - Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Noakes, Mrs. George Ingham, Mrs. Edna Watson of Bermuda and Miss Nellie Tucker Smith, Bermuda, and Charles Talbot of Brookline, Mass.

Crew - Capt. M.R. Alderson, Neil Richardson, first officer, Patrick Chapman, radio officer, and David Williams, the other steward

The huge flying boat, built in 1935, had covered less than half of the 793 miles from Port Washington, Long Island, to Bermuda when icy conditions - apparently in the carburetors - caused its motors to fail.

The plane flashed an "S.O.S.". then reported it was "okay" after landing on the storm-tossed waves at 1:12 p.m. Within ten minutes came the one-word message - "sinking" - followed by tragic silence.

Sea Pounds Craft

The stout metal hull, built to stay afloat for many hours, had been pounded to pieces by angry waters. Noakes, a veteran of 100,000 hours in the air, and Spence, the steward, were injured.

Mrs. Noakes, who never before had been up in a plane, told resucers of watching her husband struggle to keep afloat but he let go and I did not see him again. It was horrible."

Philadelphia, Jan. 23 (AP) - Two of the 13 passengers aboard the ill-fated British flying boat Cvalier when it crashed into the sea Saturday were native Pennsylvanians.

Mrs. Catherine Ingham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Fox, of Wayne, was one of the 10 rescued. She is the wife of a Hamilton, Bermuda, businessman.

J. Gordon Noakes, one of three persons missing, was born in West Scranton, but left there while still a youth. Mrs. Noakes, who was saved, saw her husband washed away from a life preserver.

Mrs. Noakes, who saw her husband go down, said that he appeared too weak to hold on longer. None could aid.

Most heroic struggle of any was that made by Talbot, a former Harvard athlete flying to Bermuda to recuperate from a skiing accident. Although one arm was in a cast, he clung to a lifebelt through five hours of daylight and five of darkness until help arrived.

Commander Raymond T. McElligott of the coast guard cutter Champlain said the 13 persons had to take to the water without warning.

Cling to Life Belts

"They had no time to put on their life belts," he said. "They were simply holding onto the life belts in a group. Two of the men survivors swan toward the Baytown and it was their cries that the captain of the Baytown heard."

Captain Frank H. Spurr of the Baytown in a routine report chronicled the heroism of his crew in braving the dangerous seas in a lifeboat to pick up - one by one - the dripping survivors.

"While proceeding to one of the positions given by the radio of the lost plane at 10:30 p.m. voices of survivors were heard calling," he radioed.

"No. 1 lifeboat, in charge of Chief Officer O. Anderson, found survivors floating in rubber life belts and took them into life boat, bringing them alongside where they were safely taken on board.

"All survivors are able to travel by motor car."

The Gettysburg Times, Gettysburg, PA 23 Jan 1939

Cavalier Navigator

Neal Richardson, skipper of the ill-fated aircraft which was forced down in the stormy Atlantic Saturday, was among the ten survivors of the craft. Richardson was unable to keep his ship in the air because of the accumulation of ice in the four motors and "pancaked" down in the heavy sea. Ten hours later ten of the 13 persons aboard were rescued by a tanker.

The Gettysburg Times, Gettysburg, PA 23 Jan 1939

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