Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, December 13, 2017, Page 4A, Image 4

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Offbeat Oregon History: No. 472
By Finn JD John
For The Sentinel
At around 11 a.m. on the
morning of Saturday, March 26,
1955, Florence Hollister was
reclining on a comfortable win-
dow seat on a Boeing 377 Stra-
tocruiser as the stewardess bus-
ily prepared a sumptuous lunch.
The airplane was a big one by
1955 standards, a double-decker
with four big radial engines, ca-
pable of handling more than 80
passengers. Today, though, this
one was comfortably empty;
only 23 people were on board,
including the crew of 8. Most
of those other passengers were
tourists looking forward to a
week or two vacationing in Ha-
Not Mrs. Hollister, though.
She and her husband, Claude,
both former Portlanders who’d
moved away during the World
War, were actually on their way
to Jakarta, where Claude had
taken a job as aviation adviser
to the Indonesian government.
She gazed out the window,
letting her eyes rest on the wing
of the plane as the endless blue
Pacifi c Ocean reeled away be-
neath it, 10,000 feet below.
They’d left Portland Interna-
tional Airport about an hour
before; they were now roughly
35 miles off the Oregon Coast,
over international waters.
And then the inboard engine,
just a few feet away from her,
disappeared in a great red ball
of fi re, as if it had been hit with
an artillery shell.
Up in the cockpit, things had
suddenly gotten very lively.
Captain Herman S. Joslyn had
noticed a ferocious vibration a
few seconds before. Thinking it
a cowl fl ap that had torn loose
from the engine nacelle, Joslyn
turned off the autopilot. And
that’s when it happened. Jos-
lyn didn’t see the fi reball, but
he defi nitely felt the shuddering
impact as the number-three en-
gine suddenly ripped itself out
of the wing and hurtled down
into the sea below.
Joslyn struggled with the el-
evator controls. They seemed
locked. The plane, trimmed
for four engines and now run-
ning on three, settled into a
spiral dive. Joslyn stood with
feet braced against the fi rewall,
pulling up on the yoke. Nothing
happened. He called to co-pilot
Angus Hendrick to help. Slowly
the controls started to respond
— the nose came up, and the
airspeed dropped. But now sud-
denly the plane was on the verge
of a stall-and-spin.
Somehow Joslyn and Hen-
drick managed to get the nose
back down in time to prevent
that. But by then, less than
1,000 feet lay between them and
a watery grave. Joslyn shouted
for power, and engineer M.F.
Kerwick pushed the throttles
forward. They did not respond.
He tried them one at a time.
Nothing. They were still stub-
bornly making the same amount
of power they’d been generating
when the number-three engine
tore free. And that just wasn’t
enough power to keep the plane
in the air.
Joslyn shouted a warning
to prepare for a ditching, and
feathered the controls as best he
could with Hendrick’s muscular
help. Then the 70-ton airplane
touched the water’s surface,
skipped, and slammed to a stop.
Trays and knives from the gal-
ley, suitcases, books and papers,
and seats torn loose from their
bolts — many of them with pas-
sengers still strapped into them
— hurtled forward to crash into
the front of the plane.
The crew hastily collected the
life rafts — which had fl own
forward with the other stuff and
demolished a row of seats (emp-
ty ones, luckily) near the front
of the plane. These they pitched
out the main door, on the left-
hand side of the plane. The pas-
sengers, unbuckling themselves
from the wreckage, made their
way as best they could to the
doors and hatches, jumped into
the sea, and swam for the life
Meanwhile co-pilot Hen-
drick, who had helped Joslyn
tame that death spiral after the
engine blew, and engineer Ker-
wick, who’d struggled with the
throttles, had clambered out the
emergency exit over the right
side of the plane. After jump-
ing into the drink, they’d found
themselves faced with an im-
possible task: swim around the
sinking airplane to reach the life
rafts on the other side, which the
light surface wind was blowing
away faster than they could
They wouldn’t make it, and
the survivors in the life raft had
to listen to their dwindling cries
as the wind carried them away.
A young banker from Auburn,
David Darrow, also was unable
to reach the life rafts, and an
80-year-old passenger named
John Peterson died in his wife’s
arms after being pulled aboard
one of the life rafts.
“I didn’t know it was John,”
Mrs. Peterson told Associated
Press reporter Elmer Vogel. “I
just noticed that someone had
been dragged in all covered
with oil. I lifted his head up and
laid it in my lap so it wouldn’t
lie in the water on the bottom of
the life raft. He opened his eyes
and smiled weakly, then said,
‘Oh, is that you, Emma?’ Then
he didn’t say any more.”
More would doubtless have
followed, but luckily a Navy
ship was 18 miles away when
the plane went down, and less
than two hours later help was on
the scene. Most of the survivors
were badly chilled, but only
one — a young Seattle woman
named Patricia Lacey, whose
leg was broken in the crash —
suffered a serious injury (other
than death, of course). She was
rescued by purser Natalie Park-
er, who swam around the air-
plane to retrieve her as she lay
unconscious in the water, and
dragged her around the airplane
in time to catch the last raft as
the wind blew it past the bro-
ken-off tail section.
In the end, 19 of the original
23 passengers and crew made it
home safe. Most of them were
now faced with a decision:
should they call off their vaca-
tions and go home, or get on an-
other airplane?
For Gail Dillingham, 18,
there wasn’t much choice. She
lived in Hawaii, and would have
to get home somehow. During
the hearing on April 20, a mem-
ber of the crowd asked her how
she planned to go.
Several months later, the
investigation concluded that
propeller failure was to blame.
The tip of one of the propeller
blades had apparently started
to tear — causing the vibration
that Captain Joslyn mistook for
a cowl fl ap — then ripped loose
and fl ew off, at which point the
engine ripped itself loose in a
cloud of fuel mixture which
was ignited by the engine ex-
hausts. Luckily, the 220-knot
slipstream blew the fi re out like
a candle fl ame; had all the gas-
oline that ended up fl oating on
the sea after the ditching caught
fi re, many more would have
The engine, the report con-
tinued, had physically removed
a link in the electrical circuit
when it went, disabling all
electrical power on the wings.
This had apparently disabled
the servo-motors on the eleva-
tor fl aps, making the controls
very diffi cult to move; and the
constant-speed propeller hubs,
making it impossible to change
the power settings.
In the end, the lessons learned
in the accident — especially the
14 recommendations that the
heroic purser, Natalie Parker,
offered at the preliminary hear-
ing — ended up saving hun-
dreds of lives in future ditchings
over the years.
Dr. Fuhrman: Does diet impact seasonal allergies?
The best medicine for seasonal allergies may
not be medicine. Instead, healthy eating and a
healthy lifestyle go a long way in lessening symp-
toms. A study of 56 different countries found that
populations with higher rates of tobacco use, trans
fat intake and acetaminophen use had higher rates
of allergies and asthma; however, populations
with higher intake of plant-based foods had lower
rates of allergies and asthma.
When you follow a high-nutrient diet, you are
creating an environment in your body that pro-
motes proper immune function and regulation of
the infl ammatory response, which may help to
blunt allergy symptoms naturally.
The daily activities and quality of life of about
7.5 percent of adults and nine percent of children
in the U.S, are impaired by the sneezing, cough-
ing and red, itchy eyes that are symptomatic of
Pollens from grass, trees and weeds are the pri-
mary culprits; the immune system inappropriately
recognizes these airborne substances as harmful
invaders and produces antibodies. Each time one
comes into contact with the pollen, an immune
attack ensues, leading to infl ammation and cold-
like symptoms.
Factors associated with increased risk of allergy
development in children include a family history
of allergies, exposure to cigarette smoke during
early childhood, childhood acetaminophen use
and the relatively low intake of omega-3 fatty ac-
ids in developed countries.
Unfortunately, allergic conditions are increas-
ing, and there are several theories for why this is
occurring. One theory is the hygiene hypothesis,
the idea that having less exposure to pathogens
and bacteria early in life increases our susceptibil-
ity to allergic conditions. According to this theory,
early viral and bacterial exposure activates an im-
mune response that aids the developing immune
system, making later-life allergies less likely.
Supporting this hypothesis, having pets, a greater
number of siblings and a greater number of early
viral infections are associated with decreased risk
of allergies.
The factors that affect development of aller-
gies in children may also be relevant to allergy
symptoms in adults. Higher intake of antioxidant
nutrients, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, is
associated with reduced seasonal allergies in chil-
dren. Similarly, high blood levels of carotenoids,
including beta-carotene, are associated with a
lower likelihood of seasonal allergies in adults.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one widely studied di-
etary factor associated with the development of
allergies. Higher omega-3 intake (primarily ALA
and EPA) and blood omega-3 levels have been as-
sociated with reduced risk of seasonal allergies in
adults. Several studies have suggested that ome-
ga-3 supplementation during pregnancy likely re-
duces the risk of allergic conditions in the child.
ALA is found in walnuts and fl ax, chia, and hemp
seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are
commonly found in fi sh, but due to mercury and
pollutants commonly found in fi sh, an algae-de-
rived omega-3 supplement is a cleaner option.
Adults defi cient in Vitamin D are more likely
to have allergies than those with suffi cient vita-
min D levels. Getting adequate vitamin D during
pregnancy may be protective against the develop-
ment of allergies in children. The safest way of
getting adequate vitamin D is via supplementa-
tion with D3.
Currently, there has not been much data pub-
lished on the effects of diet on symptoms of sea-
sonal allergies. However, in my medical practice
I have observed that the change to a high-nutrient
diet is accompanied by a wide variety of benefi ts,
including an improvement in allergy symptoms.
I have seen many allergic patients slowly reduce
the severity of their allergies, and over time many
achieved complete relief from allergies. Add-
ing certain supplemental phytochemicals, such
as rosmarinic acid and luteolin from the Perilla
frutescens seed, to a healthful diet may provide
additional help for the nose and eye irritation
characteristic of seasonal allergies.
I wish you an allergy-free season!
C ottage G rove
S entinel
(541) 942-3325
James Rand, Regional Publisher
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