TRANSPORT: Unscheduled Death

The Puerto Ricans sat stolidly on the cramped bucket seats as the potbellied plane rolled down the San Juan strip and took off into the twilight. There were 62 of them, crowded into a converted C46 Curtiss Commando, on the way to the mainland for seasonal work on sugar beet farms in Michigan. Three and a half hours out, an engine sputtered and died. At 10:06 p.m. Pilot Joseph Halsey radioed laconically: "It looks as if I'm going into the drink." Steward Hector Medina, a Puerto Rican, tried hastily to explain about the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!