menu search

What Took Place After This Plane Crash In 1972 Will Haunt Your Dreams

Do you believe in ghosts? Few stories are as compelling as the fatal crash of Flight 401 and the rumors of a ghostly flight crew that followed.

On December 29, 1972, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 was the first jumbo jet to crash and the second worst single-plane disaster in America up to that time. The experienced flight crew was distracted when the landing gear light failed to come on, which they believed was caused by a blown bulb. The flight, which departed from JFK International Airport in New York City, was approaching Miami International Airport, its destination, when the pilot requested to circle back over the Everglades until the problem with the light could be resolved. The flight crew’s focus on this relatively small problem (and a few design flaws) caused the well-trained professionals to completely miss the fact that the aircraft’s autopilot had been accidentally shut off. In the middle of the night, in the pitch-black Everglades, no one could tell that the plane was quickly losing altitude. They were also too distracted to hear a warning chime. Over the next couple of minutes, the plane continued a rapid descent, until it crashed into the muddy sawgrass at over 200 miles per hour. 101 of the 176 people onboard eventually lost their lives.

Two years after the crash, a book called The Ghost of Flight 401 was published, claiming that there were many reported sightings of the pilot, who had most likely accidentally switched off the autopilot, and the flight engineer, who had missed the warning chime because he left his seat to investigate the issue with the landing gear light. Author John G. Fuller claimed the whole book was true and heavily researched, though many of the stories were not first-person accounts. Understandably, the witnesses (airline employees) chose not to give their identities. This makes the stories hard to verify, but not necessarily false. In the stories from the book, the two ghosts supposedly showed up on other Lockheed jets, especially ones that utilized parts salvaged from Flight 401’s crash site. They often had conversations with crew or sat next to passengers on a flight, just to vanish into thin air when someone recognized them. Even people who had never met either of the men would later identify them from photos.

Perhaps the most compelling story involved the galley of another Lockheed jet that had been salvaged from Flight 401. A flight attendant opened the oven to see face of the flight engineer from Flight 401. She ran to get help, and the apparition then warned the group that a fire would occur on the plane. Later, the last part of its flight had to be cancelled due to engine trouble when a fire broke out on the plane.

Both the airline and the family of the pilot denied that there was any truth to the ghost stories, but we’ll let you decide for yourself. Do you have any other information on the ghosts of Flight 401? What’s the most compelling ghost story you’ve ever heard?

 

Victoria W
Victoria is a staff writer for OIYS.