Nine persons remained in Queens hospitals today recovering from injuries suffered when a Paris-bound Pan American Boeing 747 ran into turbulence and fell 2000 feet within a few terrifying seconds.
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Background: Nine persons remained in Queens hospitals today recovering from injuries suffered when a Paris-bound Pan American Boeing 747 ran into turbulence and fell 2000 feet within a few terrifying seconds.
Eleven other persons were treated at Kennedy Airport last night for injuries suffered when the jumbo jet ran into the rough air over Nantucket. The plane returned to Kennedy after incident.
Most of the 148 original passengers on the flight, including Sen. Javits, continued to Paris on a later flight, while others chose to remain here.
"We had about 10 minutes of turbulence and then this terrible drop," said Javits before boarding the rescheduled flight for a NATO conference at The Hague. "My legislative aide, Peter Lakeland, was seated in front of me and he wen up like a rocket."
A spokesman for Pan American said there was no way in which the pilot of the plane could have detected the disturbance because it was "clear air turbulence and therefore invisible to the plane's radar."
Several passengers said the injured had unfastened their seatbelts despite the bumpy ride. One said the "Fasten Seat Belts" signs in the passenger cabins had been lit from the time of takeoff until the mishap occurred, about an hour into the flight.
"Many people disregarded the sign," said one passenger, "and they were the ones injured."
Zaida Prez, 23, a Pan Am stewardess flying as a passenger, said some of the passengers became hysterical after the turbulence.
"They were screaming and they were hysterical," she said. "They thought they were going to crash. I was kind of talking tough and telling them to shut up, that they couldn't help anything that way."
The heroes of the incident were Lt. Commander J. L. Meiling of the Navy and Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Bauer, who administered first aid to the injured passengers.
Meiling, a native of Provo, Utah, travelling to Teheran for a two-year hitch, was seated next to his wife and six-month-old son, Neal. The infant was strapped to a special child's seat both the child and the seat went up when the downdraft secured. Commander Meiling managed to catch his son before he could hit the ceiling.
'Really Bad Downdraft'
"I was going u and Neal was going down and I grabbed him," said Meiling, "it was a really bad downdraft."
An ability to understand turbulence was one of the announced advantages of the Being 747s when they were first tested over Seattle in February, 1969. The plane's first est pilot told reporters after its maiden flight, "We think the passengers in this plane will have a comfortable ride because it seems to cushion the turbulence."
However on the huge jets first flight to New York last December a passenger noted that the "biggest surprise" of the flight was that the plane "could be bounced about so readily in rough air."
A passenger and a stewardess were admitted to Long Island Jewish Hospital with possible fractures. They are Herve Gautier, 29, of Paris and the stewardess, Christine Pistor, 35, E 72d St.
Seven other passengers were brought to Queens General Hospital with cuts and bruises. They were Andre Earnaud, 43, of Pont-du-Cha-taux, France; George Bollenback, 52 and his son Paul, of Mount Bethel, pa., Sue Ellen Doty, 23 of 255 W. 108th St.; Rolu Roluvorra, 42, of Haughesund, Norway; William Bussey, 11, son of an Army officer enroute to a new assignment, and Lewy Riging, 58, of 82.50 135th St., Kew Gardens.