Eastern Air Lines: 43 years ago today.

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  a_canadian_traveller 29 Dec 2015
at 12:41

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  • Anonymous

    Good day, and happy holidays to all.

    I confess that I haven’t poked around to find out whether this incident has been discussed before, or not. It’s my birthday, and on this date I always think of EA 401, which – sadly – crashed into the Florida Everglades just before midnight on this date in 1973 (a few hours after I entered the world). How much do BT subscribers know about the incident, and the aftermath? There was John Fuller’s 1976 book The Ghost of Flight 401, followed by the 1978 television film of the same name, starring Ernest Borgnine and Kim Basinger. Many consider the “sightings” and such to be complete rubbish, but there is a good deal of evidence to the contrary that is difficult to ignore. I’d love to hear what people know about the story, and what they think.

    Of course, it’s a sad day for the friends, family, and colleagues of the 101 souls who perished that evening.

    Sorry to shift gears so suddenly, but on a more upbeat note: Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy new year, full of fun and exciting (and always safe) travels.

    Have a wonderful 2016!


    Happy birthday a_canadian_traveller. Interesting post. I remember the accident but I think it was in 1972 it occurred. Of course then there was no Internet or 24 hour TV, nor was there Sky News or CNN.

    From distant memory I first heard it on the radio them on the evening news on TV. In those days there were no long line of armchair experts all waiting to give their opinion but just factual reporting, nor was it regurgitated umpteen times just so minutes could be filled in 24 hour news broadcasting as we have today.

    As for the ghosts, I do believe they haunted the planes into which parts from the crashed aircraft were fitted. It’s interesting that only those planes had sightings and most people would not know where a fitted part came from, and when Eastern took the parts out, the sightings stopped!


    This incident changed my mind about the existence of ghosts…..I’m now open minded about their appearances.
    And I’ll tell you why. The captain didn’t just appear on Eastern flights. My dad recalled a story of a Air Canada stewardess who was very shaken on arrival into YVR. Her L1011 also had a component from the doomed flight !

    Edit to add….Dec 29th 1972

    Thanks for commenting, LP and canucklad. It really is rather remarkable that the “sightings” occurred only on aircraft which contained salvaged parts from flight 401. As you point out, LP – how on Earth would anybody have known? Particularly back then, when the absence of the Internet made it all but impossible for people to find out things like that (Assuming that it *is* possible today, which wouldn’t surprise me!). Thanks for sharing, canucklad. Until now I had no idea that any of the salvaged parts made their way to aircraft belonging to carriers other than Eastern. I wonder what exactly the F/A saw that disturbed her so. I recall hearing about one instance in which an elderly lady said “hello” to a pilot in full uniform who was sitting across the aisle from her. According to her account, he simply disappeared. When the distraught lady was shown a group photograph of off-duty Eastern crew members at a social function, and was asked if she could identify the individual, she picked out Bob Loft immediately – the pilot of flight 401. There were many more incidents that make up the story, of course, but it does give one pause.

    Moving on, I arrived at LHR T2 on December 21st. I have travelled through the terminal only a handful of times since its opening, and overall I’m quite fond of it. However, that morning I think I had the longest walk that I’ve ever had to endure from a/c to Customs & Immigration. I was the first passenger off the a/c, so it’s not as if I was on my feet and cranky already, waiting for others to disembark. I thought it would never end! Not sure where we parked, but must have been at one of the stands farthest from Customs & Immigration. And no Christmas music being piped into the terminal, which I thought was a shame. Used to enjoy that in T4 when arriving on BA flights.

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