DISASTERS: Silence from the Gulf

Both the U.S. Weather Bureau and National Airlines weather information service expected stormy weather in the Gulf of Mexico as National's Flight 470 left Miami for Tampa and New Orleans at 3:16 E.S.T. one afternoon last week. There was a low-pressure area over the Gulf, a cold front was moving out from Texas, and small-craft warnings were flying along the coast. But the weather was expected to remain well within the "limits of operating conditions" for the four-engined DC-6. Its captain, Ernest A. Springer, was a 44-year-old veteran of airline operation. National had safely flown the tri-city route 9,978 times.

The...

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