Airliner crash kills nine and injures 17 at Sea-Tac Airport on November 30, 1947.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 3/06/2001
  • Essay 3067

On November 30, 1947, at approximately 2:25 p.m., an Alaska Airlines C-54 charter airliner with 25 passengers and three crewmembers aboard crashes while landing at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, killing nine and injuring 17. One of the dead is a blind passenger in an automobile struck by the airplane.

The flight had left Anchorage on November 27, but was delayed at Yakutat two days and at Annette Island, Alaska, one day, because of bad weather and mechanical problems. In Seattle, fog obscured airports at Paine Field and Boeing Field. The landing at Sea-Tac was the third attempt under reduced visibility conditions. The four-engine Douglas airliner landed from the northeast and ran off the end of the runway. It collided with an automobile on Des Moines Road.

Six persons were dead at the scene and three more died in the hospital. The victims included:

  • Virginia Stitsworth, 33, an entertainer known as Virginia Grafton, Seattle
  • Jonas E. Johnson, 44, Palmer, Alaska
  • Gordon Johnson, 21 months, Palmer, Alaska
  • Stella Pearl Jones, 44, Seattle, passenger in an automobile struck by the airliner
  • Leslie Howe, 33, Spokane
  • Fred Smith, 20, Tacoma
  • Olie Raing, Anchorage
  • Reba Monk, 22, "Stewardess," Seattle. Monk received her burns while leading passengers to safety through the flames.

An investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Board found that the pilot approached the runway too high and not properly lined up with the runway. The pilot was assessed a penalty of $1,000 for violations of Civil Air Regulations.


"Alaska Plane Crashes, Burns at Seattle Field," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 1, 1947, p. 1; "List of Casualties in Airliner Crash," Ibid.; Charles F. Carson, "Airliner Could Not Be Stopped," The Seattle Times, December 1, 1947, p. 1; "Accident Investigation Report: Alaska Airlines Seattle, Washington, November 30, 1947," Civil Aeronautics Board, File 1-0094, ( ).

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