Aircrash Investigations series: Eastern flight 401

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In 1972 an Eastern Air Lines flight 401 aircraft crashed in the Florida Everglades.

After the wreckage was removed, salvageable parts from the plane were used to repair other aircraft of the same type belonging to the airline.

Soon afterwards, passengers and crew on those aircraft fitted with those parts reported seeing what they believed to be the ghost of the wrecked airplane of flight 401.

Several sightings of mysterious cloud formations were reported outside the aircraft on the wings in flight, some also experienced cold air and apparitions during flights especially at night.

On one occasion a flight attendant reported seeing features of a human face appear over time to reveal Don Repo, one of the pilots on board the doomed flight 401.

In another instance, a stewardess on board another flight 318 was checking the passenger list before takeoff. A man dressed in the uniform of an Eastern Air Lines Captain was sitting in one of the passenger seats.

But there was no EAL captain on the list, so she greeted the man and asked about his name. The man continued to sit in silence and kept looking straight ahead.

The stewardess went to the flight supervisor to report the man and they came back to the silent captain for answers.

Again he would not answer their questions.

Finally, the stewardess and the supervisor went to see the captain in the flight deck to report the problem on board.

The captain was surprised because he knew almost all the captains that worked for the airline, and realised something funny was going on.

The flight captain walked to the silent captain to enquire for himself who he was. By this time passengers had crowded around the man with curiosity and interest.

They had overheard the crew trying to talk to the silent captain with no response whatsoever.

Suddenly the captain stopped in his tracks… his eyes grew wide open and his mouth dropped in shock. For a moment he stood there shaking and couldn’t say a word.

Then he finally spoke…

Looking straight at the silent man in uniform, he shouted: “Bob Loft!”

As though the mention of the name was a signal, the silent passenger suddenly disappeared into thin air right before the eyes of everyone.

Suddenly all of them – the flight captain, the stewardesses, the passengers… found themselves looking at an empty seat!

Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 was a scheduled flight from New York JFK to Miami.

Shortly before midnight on December 29, 1972, the Lockheed L-1011-1 TriStar crashed into the Florida Everglades, causing 101 fatalities.

The pilots and the flight engineer, two of 10 flight attendants, and 96 of 163 passengers died; 75 passengers and crew survived.

The crash occurred while the entire cockpit crew was preoccupied with a burnt-out landing gear indicator light.

They failed to notice that the autopilot had inadvertently been disconnected, and as a result, the aircraft gradually lost altitude and crashed.

This was the first fatal crash of a wide-body aircraft. It was also the first hull loss and first fatal crash of a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar.

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Citizen Atare is a Ghanaian who hails from the Upper East Region. He is an ICT professional working at the University of Ghana, Legon. Citizen Atare is an amateur freelance writer and blogger for over 20 years, who likes to research into everyday lifestyle issues and situations, politics, and cultural practices to write about to educate and also entertain his readers. He is a highly creative and motivated, highly inquisitive, open minded and to an extent risk-taking with a high visual acumen. He is a dreamer who isn’t afraid to break creative barriers. He is also a passionate aviation, tech and motoring enthusiast with a lot of knowledge to share and a private researcher. He has no formal education or certificate in journalism, but the hunger to know more and do more, backed by an impressive work portfolio is what drives him to write the things he knows best for his numerous online fans. Citizen Atare is married to Margaret and they both live in Accra with their lovely daughter Zoey. His hobbies include reading, listening to very good music; especially jazz, writing, watching action, sci-fi and adventure movies, travel and site seeing and swiming. He likes eating fufu and palm nut soup, but prefers boiled rice and kontomire stew with agushie more. Contact: pnawurah@gmail.com

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